TotalEnergies and Eni have reached a deal with Israel allowing them to begin exploration in Lebanon’s Block 9.
The French company is the operator with a 60% stake of the block, while the Italian company has 40%.
Total this morning announced a framework agreement with Israel. This allows the companies to abide by the maritime boundary deal, which Israel and Lebanon agreed on October 27.
The two companies plan to begin exploring a prospect, which might extend from Block 9 into Israeli waters, south of the new border line.
“TotalEnergies, as the operator of Block 9, is proud to be associated with the peaceful definition of a maritime border between Israel and Lebanon,” said CEO and chairman Patrick Pouyanné.
“By bringing our expertise in offshore exploration, we will respond to the request of both countries to assess the materiality of hydrocarbon resources and production potential in this area,” he said.
Exploration will begin with a mobilisation of teams, purchase of required equipment and procurement of a drilling rig.
Total did not name the prospect, but it is believed to be Qana. The border agreement raises the possibility of both countries claiming their share of resources from any potential resource.
Lebanon has been particularly keen that exploration begin. The state is in ruins with a bankrupt government struggling to provide basic services to its population.
Total senior vice president for the Middle East and North Africa Laurent Vivier discussed the company’s plans recently.
“We suddenly find ourselves in a position where we are in the middle and with a potential gas being a point of agreement between two countries. It’s quite incredible.”
The French company will “work as quickly as possible to assess whether we have something”, he said. Vivier was talking at Adipec.