Lebanon to Start Offshore Drilling for Natural Gas

Lebanon to Start Offshore Drilling for Natural Gas

Lebanon plans to explore gas potential at Block 9, located off its southern coast, with the recent arrival of the Transocean Barents drilling rig, said Lebanon’s Public Works and Transport Minister Ali Hamie.

“The arrival of the equipment marks an important step in the preparation for the drilling of the exploration well in Block 9, which will begin by the end of August 2023,” Total Energies said in a statement.

The exploration process is led by France’s TotalEnergies (TTEF.PA) along with Italian oil giant Eni (ENI.MI), and state-owned QatarEnergy.

Exploration of Block 9 was initially delayed because of the dispute between Lebanon and Israel over their maritime borders. However, the drilling became possible after the US mediated a deal that set the maritime border between the two countries for the first-time last October.

Lebanon wishes that the offshore explorations for gas would turn it into an oil and gas-producing country and therefore, overcome its economic crisis that has coasted the local currency more than 98% of its value, eroded the country’s foreign reserves, and caused rolling blackouts across towns and cities.

“We hope that Lebanon will become an oil state,” Lebanon’s Energy Minister Walid Fayyad said, adding that the results of the drilling are expected in two or three months.

Located off the coast of southern Lebanon, Block 9 is one of a series of potential gas fields that also includes Block 4 off Batroun, for which Lebanon awarded the first-ever exploitation licenses in 2018 to a consortium comprising France’s TotalEnergies, Italy’s Eni, and Russia’s Novatek.

However, the exploration process for Block 4 which was launched in 2020, detected the presence of gas, yet it proves that it is not in sufficient quantities to justify a production startup.

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Doaa Ashraf 455 Posts

Doaa is a staff writer with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communication, majoring Journalism from Ahram Canadian University. She has 2-3 years of experience in copywriting, and content creation.

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