It is anticipated that the Karish field, of which Lebanon claims a portion, has stored in itself a golden reservoir of 2 to 3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
Israel is getting ready to reignite conflicts with Lebanon’s Hezbollah while establishing its new position as a provider to Europe by integrating a contentious Mediterranean gas field into its domestic gas network.
The Karish marine reservoir, a portion of which is disputed by neighboring Lebanon, would be used for testing the rig and natural transmission system, the Israeli energy minister announced last week. Energean, a London-listed firm that holds the field’s license, has stated that it is “on pace to provide [the] first gas from the Karish development project within weeks” and that construction is scheduled to start on Tuesday.
The relatively tiny Karish field, which was discovered in 2013, as well as the adjoining Tarin field, are thought to contain up to 44 million barrels of liquids and 2-3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The operation is welcomed by Israel’s western partners despite the fact that what can be shipped right now is only a small portion of what is required to solve the global energy crisis brought on by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as expenses skyrocket and Europe looks for alternatives to Russian gas suppliers.
However, Lebanon, which officially is still at war with Israel, claims ownership of a portion of the Karish field. After Energean sent a production vessel into the field in June, ignoring Beirut’s complaints that the reservoir shouldn’t be exploited until maritime border discussions that started in 2020 are finished under US mediation, events took a drastic twist over the summer.
Enters the Hezbollah
In response to the Israeli move, Hezbollah, the influential Lebanese Shia movement linked with Iran, sent unarmed drones into Karish on July 2. These drones were gunned and destroyed by the Israel Defense Forces.
If Israel moves further in the contested region, the organization has frequently vowed to launch assaults. Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah, stated in a televised statement on Saturday that the US-mediated maritime boundary discussions should be successful but that Israeli gas extraction from Karish was a “red line.”
We are keeping track of the negotiations. Karish is the target of our rockets and eyes, the imam declared. “There is a possibility for answers as long as extraction has not begun.”
Energean earlier claimed it had acquired security guarantees from the Israeli government, which has previously faced threats from Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Hezbollah in Lebanon against its offshore gas plants. According to Israeli media, the Greek-founded hydrocarbon exploration firm has racked up a sizable deficit by expanding the project and is legally required to start providing gas to clients.
Benny Gantz, Israel’s defense minister, stated last week: “If Nasrallah wants to try to undermine and disrupt this process, he is welcome to do so: the price is Lebanon.” “I sincerely hope he won’t do this for his sake. We are willing to protect our interests.”
Israel signed a trilateral agreement of cooperation in June under which gas would be sent to Egypt for the first time before continuing to the EU.