Vast reserves of oil and gas have been found off the coast of Lebanon which could transform the power and energy politics of the region, The Times reports. The discovery has drawn a "stampede" of global oil companies. Spectrum Geo, a British surveyor, has identified offshore deposits that would make the country one of the biggest natural gas producers in the Mediterranean, dwarfing recent finds in Israel and Cyprus. It is now mapping the Bekaa Valley, a mountainous area in the northeast of Lebanon. At least 40 oil and gas companies prepare to bid for licences to explore the maritime deposits. Those known to have expressed an interest include Cove Energy and Marathon Oil in partnership with Cairn Energy, with Shell also understood to be keen.
A group of conservative MPs has warned the Chancellor, George Osborne, that the Tories must cut taxes and show support for "aspiration." That comes after last week's crushing Eastleigh by-election defeat. For their part, on Tuesday Labour will release the results of an independent review into the country's business culture according to which a sharp reduction in capital gains tax for long-term investors is necessary, according to The Telegraph.
In his confirmation hearing overnight the new governor of the Bank of Japan (BoJ), Haruhiko Kuroda, told his country´s parliament that the BoJ: "must clearly send out the message . . . that it will do whatever it can to beat deflation." In his opinion the central bank ought apparently to modify both the range of assets that it buys as well as the size itself so as to meet its 2% inflation target as soon as possible. Kuroda does not believe the central bank should limit itself to purchasing debt of up to 3 years in maturity, but provided few exact details, the FT writes.
Britain needs more transport links to growth markets. Unlike centuries ago
however now it is further air transport links which are needed. An additional daily flight to each of the eight fastest growing markets Brazil, India, Russia, China, Turkey, Indonesia, Mexico and South Korea would increase trade by £1bn a year, a CBI study claims. For that reason the business lobby wants the government to improve access to existing airports, including via a rail link between Heathrow and the Great Western Main Line, an upgraded station at Gatwick and better roads to East Midlands, Newcastle and Bristol airports, The Times says.
Europe´s business executives have received the second challenge in little over a week in the form a Swiss referendum that seeks to take power back from company boards and return it to shareholders. The result of the plebiscite, which was approved by 68% of voters, means that companies may no longer hand out so-called 'golden hellos' and 'goodbyes.' As well, directors will now have to be re-elected on an annual basis, according to the FT.