BEIRUT — Laurent Vivier, Senior Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa at French multinational energy company TotalEnergies, arrived in Lebanon Tuesday morning, the state-run National News Agency reported, following substantial progress in the Lebanese-Israeli maritime border negotiations after Lebanon and Israel received from the US the final draft proposal of the deal.
Vivier and Lebanese Deputy Parliament Speaker Elias Bou Saab, who has led the negotiations on Lebanon's side, later arrived at the Grand Serail in Beirut to meet with caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati, the NNA added.
The draft satisfies all of the two countries' requirements and could imminently lead to a "historic deal," negotiators from Lebanon and Israel said on Tuesday.
TotalEnergies, which is part of a consortium to explore potential oil and gas blocks off the Lebanese coast, is expected to explore and exploit the Qana field for Lebanon. However, this field extends southwards beyond the area bordered by Line 23, which is claimed by Lebanon. TotalEnergies is expected to play the role of intermediary between the two countries by paying a fee to Israel in exchange for the country ceding full access to the Qana field to Lebanon.
After the Grand Serail meeting, caretaker Lebanese Energy minister Walid Fayad said that TotalEnergies will begin the process of exploring for gas in Lebanese waters as soon as a deal on the maritime border with Israel is concluded, according to Reuters.
Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Laurent Vivier is TotalEnergies' director. Vivier is the company's Senior Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa.