Lebanon’s cabinet approved a bid Dec. 14 for offshore energy exploration by a consortium made up of Total, Eni and Novatek, in the country’s first oil and gas offshore licensing round, a government source told Reuters.

“Congratulations to the Lebanese people on the passing of the oil decree and on Lebanon entering the club of oil countries,” Oil Minister Cesar Abi Khalil said on Twitter in response to the decision.

Lebanon sits on the Levant Basin in the eastern Mediterranean where a number of big subsea gas fields have been discovered since 2009, including the Leviathan and Tamar fields located in Israeli waters near the disputed marine border with Lebanon.

Data suggest there are reserves in Lebanon’s waters, but so far no exploratory drilling has taken place to estimate reserve size.

The first licensing round for E&P rights was relaunched in January after a three-year delay due to political problems in the country.

Total, Eni and Novatek consortium was the only consortium to submit an offer, bidding for Block 4 and Block 9 of the available five blocks.