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Israel and Lebanon have reached a “historic” agreement to settle their long-running dispute over their maritime border—an agreement that could pave the way to more oil and gas exploration in Eastern Mediterranean waters where major gas discoveries have been made in recent years.
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid “has, today, reached a historic agreement settling the maritime dispute with Lebanon,” the Israeli government said in a statement on Tuesday.
“The draft agreement meets all the security and economic principles laid out by Israel,” the government added.
Over the weekend, there was intensive dialogue through the U.S. mediator Amos Hochstein between Lebanon and the Israeli negotiating team, Israel said.
“In the last few hours, Israel received a draft agreement that meets all of its security, economic, and legal demands as set out by Prime Minister Yair Lapid,” Israel said.
Lebanon and Israel have had an unresolved maritime border dispute over a triangular area of around 860 square kilometers (332 square miles) that extends along the southern edge of three of Lebanon’s 10 blocks.
Lebanon’s Presidency said, “The final version of the offer satisfies Lebanon, meets its demands, and preserves its rights to its natural wealth.”
Earlier this week, Energean started doing tests on pipes from the Karish offshore gas field in the Eastern Mediterranean and Israel, which claims ownership of the field. Israel will begin gas extraction from the Karish field and will start exporting it to Europe immediately, it has said.
Under the agreement reached today, the Karish oil and gas field and an area known as the Qanaa prospect are expected to be in Israeli and Lebanese waters, respectively, according to CNN.
Lebanon’s Energy Minister Walid Fayyad said today that French supermajor TotalEnergies, which owns the contract to explore Lebanese waters, would start working on the Qanaa prospect “immediately.”
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.