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April 25, 2019

Energy Minister Nada Boustani announced Thursday the site in Block 4 where the first drilling will take place in Lebanon’s bid to discover offshore oil and gas resources in its territories.

The site sits just north of Beirut.

“The most suitable location with the highest chance of success was chosen,” Boustani tweeted Thursday.

Earlier this year, Lebanese Petroleum Administration official Wissam Chbat told The Daily Star that energy blocks 4 and 9 were interdependent, “and for this reason any commercial discovery in Block 4 will give an indication about the prospects of gas reserves in Block 9.”

Boustani added Thursday that “this step comes after months of studies and preparation from the companies for several sites.”

Italian Eni, French Total and Russian Novatek form a consortium that is expected to begin exploration of Lebanon’s offshore oil and gas reserves later this year, after signing exploration and production agreements for blocks 4 and 9.

Thursday’s decision follows an announcement from the energy minister last month that a ship, the Janus II, had started a two-week-long survey of the marine life and biological diversity in blocks 4 and 9, in preparation to determine the areas for exploration.

The energy minister reiterated the importance of offshore drilling, but said “it is more important for the Lebanese to know what steps are being taken so that the day comes where we say Lebanon is an oil country.”

Boustani said Thursday’s decision would now allow Total to begin the contracting process for drilling and other services, so “we will be ready to drill before the end of 2019.” Read more