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Lebanon: Drilling first oil well expected for this summer

February 18, 2023 at 10:43 am

Walid Fayyad, Minister of Energy and Water Resources of Lebanon at Beirut Port in Beirut, Lebanon on February 17, 2023. [Houssam Shbaro – Anadolu Agency]

Drilling of the first exploratory oil well is expected to begin at the end of summer, Lebanese Minister of Energy and Water Walid Fayad announced on Friday.

The plans to drill block nine were formalised after the deal on the demarcation of the border between Lebanon and Israel was reached last year.

Fayad stated: “Today, we reached an important milestone in oil and gas exploration in block nine, following the historic achievement of demarcating boundaries and commitment that we have seen from partners led by Total Energy and Eni and the recent entry of Qatar.”

He said that the new stability encouraged state-owned QatarEnergy (QE) to join TotalEnergies and Italy’s Eni in block nine and nearby block four.

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QE has replaced Russia’s Novatek, which pulled out of the joint venture late last year for what it described as “economic and financial” reasons and “political risk”.

It is worth noting that QE holds 30 per cent of stakes in the two licences, with TotalEnergies and Eni each holding 35 per cent.

Lebanon has now: “Achieved the maximum that could be achieved at this stage,” Fayad shared. “We can always dream of more, but you must think of what’s achievable.”

Meanwhile, Lebanese Minister of the Environment Nasser Yassin added: “We are working as the Ministry of the Environment together with the Ministry of Energy and the Oil and Gas Authority to expedite these issues and give the necessary approvals for preparing for the drilling.”

He also said that his ministry is working to afford appropriate environmental management “for the whole process.”

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