Qatar Energy signed a gas exploration contract in the shores of Lebanon


On Sunday, the Qatar Energy Company is expected to sign a contract with the Lebanese authorities, the French companies Total and the Italian Eni company, for their participation in energy exploration in Lebanon’s economic waters.

This comes amid high official hopes that this measure will speed up exploration and drilling operations in Lebanese shores, in preparation for energy extraction.

In the details, the Lebanese Ministry of Energy said that the Qatar Energy company will join the French Total Energy and the Italian Eni in a three-party consortium to explore for oil and gas in two offshore areas off the Lebanese coast.

The Lebanese Government said that the signing ceremony of the amending annexes to the exploration and production agreements in Blocks 4 and 9 will take place, on the occasion of the entry of the Qatar Energy Company into a partnership with the French Total Energy Company and the Italian Eni company.

The first licensing round in Lebanon in 2017 witnessed the winning of a consortium including French Total, Italian Eni and the Russian Novatek with a license to explore in the fourth and ninth marine blocks.

However the Russian Novatek withdrew in September 2022, leaving its 20% stake in the hands of the Lebanese government.

After months of talks, Qatar Energy is set to take a 30% stake, while Total and Eni each take a 35% stake.

The Lebanese authorities view this signature as a positive development that would launch the exploration wheel again, three years after it stopped.

Exploration will resume in Block No. 4 and Block No. 9 adjacent to the Israeli maritime borders in southern Lebanon.

Under the new agreement, the Qatari company will have acquired the share of Russian Novatek and 5% of each of French Total and Italian Eni companies.

Exploration operations have resulted in major gas discoveries in offshore areas in the eastern Mediterranean over the past ten years, according to Reuters, and interest in them has increased since the Russian invasion of Ukraine disrupted gas supplies to European Union countries.

Lebanon and the Israel concluded an agreement mediated by the United States to demarcate their long-disputed maritime borders.

Most of the ninth area lies in Lebanese sovereign waters, but part of it lies south of the newly demarcated border with Israel.

Total and Israel struck a separate deal regarding the revenues being generated from this area.

The deal provided for preventing Lebanese and Israeli companies from operating in the area south of the new border, which led to the transfer of shares of French Total Energy Company and the Lebanese government to two companies described as investment tools for Total and the search for a new partner in the consortium.

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