Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Lebanon will be able to extract its own natural gas

Written by Frédéric Dubessy on Tuesday, September 20th 2022 à 15:10 | Read 1469 times
LEBANON / ISRAEL. According to Michel Aoun, negotiations to define the southern maritime border between Lebanon and Israel are "in their final phase". The Lebanese president spoke on Monday, September 19, 2022, after a meeting with Joanna Wronecka, UN Special Coordinator in Lebanon, whom he informed of these advances.

Discussions with Israel - a country still officially at war with Lebanon - on this maritime border dispute have been conducted since 2020 through the United States. Negotiations had been suspended in May 2022, before resuming in the summer of 2022. Lebanese Deputy Speaker Elias Bou Saab is scheduled to meet with U.S. mediator Amos Hochstein for final details.

An agreement would lead to the delimitation of the fields and allow Lebanon to become a hydrocarbon producing country. This "would guarantee Beirut's rights to explore gas and oil", says Michel Aoun. For several years and the discovery of several gas fields, the eastern Mediterranean opens the door to energy independence of the countries bordering it (Greece, Cyprus, Israel, Gaza, and therefore Lebanon).

Lebanon to obtain the offshore Qana field

Under the future agreement, Lebanon should get the offshore Qana field to exploit it. However, Beirut will have to pay compensation to the State of Israel for the extraction of natural gas from this field of 860 km ² claimed since 2011 by Lebanon to the UN. According to a statement from the Lebanese presidency, "President Aoun expressed his hope that exploration in Lebanese waters would contribute to the revival of the Lebanese economy, which has experienced a significant decline in recent years, as well as strengthening security and stability in the south."

On the other hand, according to information from Saudi television Al Arabiya, the Karish field (1,430 sqm), part of which is also coveted by the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah, will remain under the total control of Israel, which has begun its exploitation. It is located in Israel's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), recognized by the UN.

The Lebanese Ministry of Energy also announced on Monday 19 September 2022, the resumption of Novatek's participation in the consortium formed to explore two offshore oil and gas blocks off Lebanon. The Russian giant held 30% of the project alongside the French TotalEnergies (lead partner) and the Italian Eni. It decided to withdraw from this venture in August 2022 with effect from 22 October 2022. In 2020, after exploratory drilling in Block 4, the consortium - holder of the very first exploration licenses issued in 2018 - had deemed its exploitation unviable given the quantity of hydrocarbons present. The second block (9) has not yet been drilled.


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