Lebanon approved two measures allowing it to auction its first offshore oil and natural gas rights, ending three years of delays that kept the tiny country from joining a regional race to tap energy wealth in the eastern Mediterranean. The newly formed government headed by Prime Minister Saad Hariri passed the two decrees on Wednesday, state-run National News Agency reported, citing Foreign Affairs Minister Gebran Bassil. The decrees demarcate energy blocks, establish production-sharing contracts and specify tender protocols. They take effect with no need for additional approval. The cabinet formed ministerial committees to study a petroleum tax draft law and another proposed law governing onshore oil resources, Information Minister Melhem Riachi said in a televised news conference. The cabinet also discussed the establishment of a sovereign wealth fund to manage the oil and gas revenue. Lebanon has lagged behind neighboring Israel, Cyprus and Egypt in developing oil and gas […]