Lebanon signs first E&P agreements with international consortium

lebanonA consortium comprising Total, Eni and Novatek have signed two exploration and production agreements with the government of Lebanon for two blocks offshore Lebanon

The agreements cover Blocks 4 and 9 located offshore Lebanon, in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea. Total is the operator with a 40 per cent stake, with Eni taking a 40 per cent stake and Novatek 20 per cent. 

The agreements provide for the drilling of at least one well per block in the first three years, according to a statement from Total, which says that the consortium's priority will be to drill a first exploration well on Block 4 in 2019. 

The southern part of Block 9 lies in waters disputed by neighbouring Israel, but Total comments that less than eight per cent of the block’s surface is affected.

“Given that the main prospects are located more than 25km from the disputed area, the consortium confirms that the exploration well on Block 9 will have no interference at all with any fields or prospects located south of the border area,” says the statement from Total. 

The blocks were awarded in the framework of Lebanon’s first competitive offshore licensing round launched in January 2017, which has been beset with delays.

“Today, we announce that we have started our petroleum path ... after signing the agreements and launching the exploration activities,” Lebanon’s Energy Minister Cesar Abi Khalil said at a ceremony in Beirut, according to Reuters.

Both Eni and Total comment that they see the agreement as strengthening their presence in the Eastern Mediterranean. Eni operates exploration and production activities in Egypt and exploration activities in Cyprus, while Total is an established player in the marketing sectors in Egypt, Lebanon and Cyprus as well as being active in oil and gas exploration in Cyprus.

The agreement follows a promising natural gas discovery by Total and Eni offshore Cyprus, which is reported to be geologically similar to the giant Zohr field offshore Egypt, operated by Eni.


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