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TotalEnergies Set To Start Drilling In Lebanon Later This Year

French TotalEnergies is set to launch long-awaiting drilling offshore Lebanon in Q3 of this year, with the restive, energy-starved country now awaiting news of a potential first discovery by the end of 2023.

The consortium drilling offshore Lebanon in Block 9 is led by TotalEnergies, with partners Italian Eni and QatarEnergy.

Lebanon’s interim energy minister, Walid Fayyad, on Tuesday said the rig commissioned by the consortium would start working in September and “before the end of the year we will know if there is a discovery”, as cited by Reuters.

Last October, Lebanon and Israel reached a deal surrounding a maritime border dispute that was holding up offshore exploration in the prolific Levant Basin in the Mediterranean, where Israel has made massive natural gas discoveries, putting it on the energy map for the first time in history.

An oil or natural gas discovery would be a lifesaver for Lebanon, whose economy is in complete collapse, with the Lebanese pound (and lira) sinking to a new low last month and the majority of the country’s population living in poverty. Any discovery by the end of this year could potentially unlock large amounts of foreign investment.

Drilling results in Block 9 are a litmus test for investment decisions in further oil and gas exploration offshore Lebanon.

The October deal between Lebanon and Israel allows Israel to produce natural gas from its Karish reservoir, which overlaps the disputed maritime zone. Karish and the Tanin field in the same basin are believed to hold a combined 2-3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 44 million barrels of liquids.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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