BEIRUT (Reuters): TransOcean Barents drilling rig arrived in Lebanon’s Block 9 on Wednesday to begin exploration activities, Minister of Public Works and Transport, Ali Hamie, posted on Twitter, following a landmark US-brokered agreement last year that delineated the contentious maritime border between Lebanon and Israel to the south.
The consortium drilling in Block 9 is led by France’s TotalEnergies and includes Italian oil giant ENI and state-owned QatarEnergy.
Lebanon’s energy minister Walid Fayad said in May that he expected to know whether there would be a discovery there by the end of the year. ENI CEO Claudio Descalzi said in January that he was “positive” about a discovery there.
Lebanon is hoping the exploration and discovery of commercial quantities of oil and gas will help it overcome its current economic crisis.
Lebanon’s share would range from 54 to 63 percent after the deduction of operational and capital costs, in any instance of oil and gas discovery.
Najib Mikati, Lebanese caretaker prime minister in January paid tribute to US mediator Amos Hochstein and his team for their handling of the indirect negotiation process between Lebanon and Israel to demarcate the maritime borders at the end of last year, which resulted in an agreement.
In February the outlook for Lebanon’s Qana gas field project appeared promising when Janus 2 completed an eight-day mission during which it collected images of the seabed, and took samples of water and sediment.