Lebanon launched its first ever bid round earlier this year after a multi-year delay. The bidding closed on 12 October, and the initial results have proven underwhelming. Only two of the five blocks on offer (4 & 9) received bids, and these were tabled by just one consortium – a partnership of Italian firm Eni, French major Total and independent Russian gas producer Novatek.

The absence of any competition is highly frustrating for Lebanon, which was expecting more interest in its...