Israel Allows TotalEnergies And Eni To Search For Gas Offshore After Lebanon Deal

By Lennox Kalifungwa

Israel has signed an initial agreement with TotalEnergies and Eni to begin exploring natural gas within the framework of a historic maritime border agreement with Lebanon.

“The Block 9 partners will initiate the exploration of an already identified prospect which might extend both in Block 9 and into Israel waters south of the recently established maritime borderline,” TotalEnergies said on Tuesday, Reuters reported.

According to Lior Schillat, director-general of Israel’s Energy Ministry, the agreement will “allow the development of a gas reservoir that crosses the border between enemy states, an unusual event in the global energy market.”

Construction work on the future import terminal for liquefied natural gas (LNG). An FSRU (Floating Storage and Regasification Unit) for importing liquefied natural gas to Germany is scheduled to dock at the jetty in Wilhelmshaven this winter in this file photo. SINA SCHULDT/PICTURE ALLIANCE VIA GETTY IMAGES

The agreement focused on resolving a dispute over a potential gas field in Lebanon’s offshore Block 9, which extends into Israeli waters. With a 60% stake, TotalEnergies operates Block 9, and Eni owns 40%.

Last month, Lebanese and Israeli leaders finalized a maritime demarcation agreement brokered by the U.S., bringing a measure of accommodation between the adversaries.

Event on the planned LNG terminal in Brunsbüttel. Tobias Goldschmidt (M, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen), Minister for Energy Transition, Climate Protection, Environment and Nature of the State of Schleswig-Holstein, speaks to media representatives during a press event in the Elbehafen port, standing in front of a terminal for unloading oil and gas.  DANIEL REINHARDT/PICTURE ALLIANCE VIA GETTY IMAGES

“It is not every day that an enemy country recognises the state of Israel, in a written agreement, in view of the international community,” said then Israeli Prime Minister Yair  following the signing of that deal in a televised statement in October marking the new agreement. 

A day earlier Energean, a British-Greek hydrocarbon exploration and production company announced  that it had begun extracting natural gas from Karish, located off the coast of Haifa. At the time, Energean described the development as a significant milestone in promoting a vision of a competitive Israeli gas market and increasing the country’s energy security and independence.

A view of the platform of the Leviathan natural gas field from an Israeli northern coastal beach. Recently, Energean plc announced the discovery of a commercially viable deposit of natural gas at its Zeus-01 drilling site located off Israel’s coast (PHOTO BY JACK GUEZ/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES)

 The new find was found in the “Olympus area” located between the Karish and Tanin fields in Israel’s exclusive economic zone. “The results from the Zeus well and the Athena post-well analysis provide Energean with additional confidence about the volumes and commerciality of the Olympus area, and the company is now progressing its field development plan,” said a statement.

“We are evaluating a number of potential commercialization options for the Olympus area that leverage both new and our existing unique [Mediterranean Sea]-based infrastructure, and we expect to commit to a development concept in [the first quarter of] 2023,” Energean CEO Mathios Rigas said in a recent media statement.


Produced in association with Jewish News Syndicate.

(Additional reporting provided by JNS Reporter)

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