Israel to annex disputed
gas-filled maritime area
Energy Minister: We will not back down
Israel is pushing a bill to annex 800 square kilometers of disputed maritime area. The bill needs the voting of the Israeli Government and the Knesset, Israel’s legislative body.
Its decision came following years of failed negotiations mediated by the U.S and the United Nations between Lebanon and Israel.
Energy Minister Cesar Abi Khalil said: “Lebanon will follow through with its licensing round set for mid-September.”
“Lebanon will not abandon its oil and gas rights found in its waters. We have a sovereign right that Israel is trying to disrupt following its failed licensing round,” he said.
A prequalification round for five blocks in Lebanon opened during January. Block number eight is the location of the disputed waters, which represents around half of the actual block.
Local authorities say that the disputed triangle falls within the Exclusive Economic Zone. They have threatened to take Israel to the international courts for stealing its natural resources.
In 2013, Israel started drilling the Tamar gas field, the closest to Lebanon’s southern border. Wells in Tamar are operated by Noble Energy. Israel has opened 24 blocks for licensing, and bids are expected to close in June.
Reported by Yassmine Alieh
Date Posted: Mar 22, 2017