The drilling grew to become attainable after a US-mediated deal settled a maritime border dispute in Lebanese and Israeli waters.
A drilling rig has arrived in Lebanon’s Block 9 to start oil and gas exploration after foes Lebanon and Israel delineated the contentious maritime border between them in a United States-brokered settlement final 12 months.
Minister of Public Works and Transport Ali Hamie made the announcement on Wednesday on social media platform X, previously referred to as Twitter.
“On your data, at the moment, Wednesday 8/16/2023, the oil and fuel exploration vessel in Block No. 9 has now reached its drilling level,” he wrote.
The consortium led by France’s TotalEnergies contains Italian oil large ENI and state-owned QatarEnergy. Qatar Vitality changed Russian firm Novatek which withdrew from the Lebanese market in September.
The drilling grew to become attainable after the deal that delineated the Lebanon-Israel maritime border for the primary time, regardless of Beirut nonetheless contemplating itself at battle with its neighbour and legal guidelines barring contact with Israeli officers.
Block 9 lies principally in Lebanese waters however a section lies south of the newly delineated border.
A mechanism for the consortium to take advantage of attainable discoveries that reach south from Block 9 was additionally established, organising a royalties system for Israel whereas the exploitation could be on behalf of Lebanon.
Specialists have argued that the absence of particular standards for revenue distribution is among the biggest loopholes within the deal within the occasion of cross-border deposits being recognized.
Lebanon hopes fuel and oil discoveries will assist it reverse a crippling economic crisis that has value the native forex greater than 98 p.c of its worth, eroded the nation’s international reserves and prompted rolling blackouts throughout cities and cities.
Lebanon’s Vitality Minister Walid Fayad stated in Could that he anticipated to know whether or not there could be a discovery there by the tip of the 12 months. ENI CEO Claudio Descalzi stated in January that he was “optimistic” a couple of discovery there.
Nevertheless, the potential for fuel exploitation to scale back a authorities debt of about $100bn is restricted.
Assuming fuel is plentiful, it would nonetheless take years earlier than revenues attain state coffers and some fear the rampant corruption that has characterised Lebanon’s governing system might stop the cash from ever benefitting about three million individuals dwelling under the poverty line.
Whereas the delimitation of the maritime border eliminated a big level of friction that would have led to a brand new battle, Lebanon and Israel don’t have direct diplomatic contact.
Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982 and the 2 international locations fought once more in 2006.