Consortium will start
exploring disputed Block 9
Tillerson in Beirut. Talks to include maritime
demarcation line disputes with Israel
The consortium of Total, ENI and Novatek, that won the tender to explore for oil and gas offshore, will drill an exploratory well in ‘Block 9’, 25 kilometers north of the southern border of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), according to Stephane Michele, Chairman of Exploration and Production at Total Middle East and North Africa.
Michele said: “In 2019, we will begin by drilling the first well in Block 4, because we think it is most promising.”
The consortium will then move to Block 9 to drill a second well.
The Exploration and Production Agreements (E&P) were officially signed with the winning oil consortium in February. President Michel Aoun said: “We have fulfilled a great dream. We are now entering a new phase in our energy sector.”
Fuad Krekshi, Executive Vice President of Middle East at ENI, said: “Offshore potential is promising. We hope to find something similar to what we have found in Egypt.” In Egypt ENI discovered the largest gas field in the Middle East. Zohr, the gas field, contains around 30 billion cubic meters of high-quality gas.
Krekshi said ENI predicts gas consumption to double in the MENA region by 2030.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will visit Beirut on Thursday. His talks will include a dispute with Israel over a triangular area of 860 square kilometers, partly present in Blocks 8 and 9.
Israel is currently developing the Karish gas field, only 4.5 kilometers south of Lebanon’s EEZ. Lebanese officials have repeatedly expressed concerns that Israel might steal oil and gas from the nation’s EEZ.
Borders should have been demarked in a ‘tri-point’, a common area between Lebanon, Cyprus, and Israel. The dispute with Israel arose when Cyprus failed to notify Lebanon of its border demarcation with Tel Aviv in 2010. In the meantime, Lebanon had set a temporary demarcation point awaiting Israel’s demarcation. But now, Israel claims that this point is Lebanon's actual EEZ border.
Reported by Yassmine Alieh
Date Posted: Feb 13, 2018