A settlement in October ended a long-running marine border conflict between Lebanon and Israel. Following that, French oil firm Total announced it will shortly begin gas drilling operations in Qana field off the coast of Lebanon. The settlement was mediated by the Washington.
A framework agreement was reached with Israel, opening the possibility of investigation in the so-called Qana field, according to a statement released on Tuesday by Total and its partner, Italian company Eni.
Authorities in Israel did not immediately confirm the incident. According to the agreement inked on October 27 by officials of Beirut and Tel Aviv, Lebanon preserves full legal rights in Qana while Israel maintains complete rights to explore the Karish field.
Israel is eligible to revenues on the provisions of a different agreement established with the operator of the so-called Block 9 as Qana region stretches to the south of the agreed dividing line.
Experts have raised alarm that the inability to come to a profit-sharing agreement might perhaps cause Lebanon’s share of production to stop.
A Lebanese Oil and Gas Initiative (LOGI) advisory group participant believes the signing of the memorandum of understanding was “a step ahead.” “But we don’t want it to be a faulty step. Lebanon should be privy to the agreement,” Diana Kaissy asserted.
Cash-strapped Since its inception in 1948, Lebanon has officially been at war with Israel, and it is hopeful that new gas finds would aid in its recovery from the greatest financial and economic problems in its recent history.
To refrain from direct conversations with Israeli authorities, Lebanese authorities have stated that the maritime boundary deal does not constitute any kind of normalization between the two nations.
Qana Field; The Israel’s Share
While Lebanon had a contract with Total, the country still had a sovereign right to its assets and ought to have input into the methodology used to determine Israel’s revenues.
It was not clearly obvious if the framework agreement’s details, which have not been released, had been communicated to Lebanese officials.
Confusion surrounding which businesses own a stake in Block 9 further complicates the discussion regarding Israel’s royalties. In the statement, TotalEnergies stated that it would own 60% and Eni the remaining 40% of the company.
However, Lebanon granted licenses to a global group that included TotalEnergies, Eni, and Russia’s Novatek in 2017. Lebanese authorities, notably Energy Ministry, have stated that Qatar is eager in filling the void left by Novatek’s recent withdrawal.
The fact that Qatar has no official ties to Israel may help to explain why it was left out of the framework deal. The firm is “happy to be connected with the peaceful determination of a maritime border between Israel and Lebanon,” according to TotalEnergies.
Total will react to the request of both nations to evaluate the significance of hydrocarbon resources and production prospects in this region by applying our experience in offshore exploration, TotalEnergies CEO explained added.
The maritime boundary agreement has been praised as “historic” and advantageous for both parties. It is the first significant diplomatic settlement between the two nations in a long time.
Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah, referred to Israel’s gas extraction from Karish as a “red line” two months ago. Benny Gantz, Israel’s Minister of Defense, responded by warning Hezbollah that Lebanon would pay the price if it damaged Israel’s coastal oil rig.
The agreement may reduce regional instability while also helping Europe cut its ties to Russian gas in response to Moscow’s assault against Ukraine.