BEIRUT — Caretaker Energy Minister Walid Fayad and caretaker Public Works Minister Ali Hamieh on Tuesday inspected the logistical support base for the maritime platform which, starting August, will explore the seabed in the southern part of Lebanon's exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Chartered by the TotalEnergies on behalf of the consortium it formed with Italy's ENI and QatarEnergy, the TransOcean Barents platform will drill an exploration well in Block 9 of the EEZ, the second block off the Lebanese coast near Sour, in southern Lebanon.
The aim of the operation is to confirm the presence of sufficient quantities of natural gas to justify the deployment of an extraction platform. The Lebanese Petroleum Administration has named the well Qana 31/1.
According to Fayad, "exploration work in this block will take a total of 90 days," but the first indications of whether or not sufficient gas is present will be available before the end of this period.
Hamieh welcomed the agreement signed on Oct. 27 between Lebanon and Israel which settled the dispute over the delineation of the maritime border and unblocked the exploration process in Block 9.
However, the dispute did not prevented Israel from exploring its side of the border or starting production. Hamieh also said another support base, set up at Beirut International Airport, has also been deployed.
The consortium led by TotalEnergies changed since 2022, with the departure of Russia's Novatek and the arrival of QatarEnergy.
Since 2018, the consortium has held the right to explore and exploit potential offshore hydrocarbon reserves in the first two blocks of the Lebanese EEZ put into play by Beirut. Block 4 was explored in 2020 through the drilling of a single well, but failed to detect enough gas to move on to the next stage.
In his speech, Fayad said this did not mean the block was "doomed," and he suggested the possibility of new exploration work being launched there in the future.