Following a landmark US-brokered agreement last year that delineated the contentious maritime border between Lebanon and Israel to the south, the TransOcean Barents drilling rig arrived in Lebanon’s Block 9 on Wednesday to begin exploration activities, Minister of Public Works and Transport Ali Hamie posted on Twitter.
The consortium drilling in Block 9 is led by TotalEnergies of France and includes ENI of Italy and QatarEnergy, a state-owned company in Qatar.
Walid Fayad, Lebanon’s energy minister, predicted in May that a finding will be made there before the end of the year. Claudio Descalzi, CEO of ENI, stated in January that he was “optimistic” about a discovery there.
Lebanon is hoping the exploration and discovery of commercial quantities of oil and gas will help it overcome its current economic crisis.
In the event of an oil and gas find, Lebanon’s share would range from 54 to 63 percent after deducting operating and capital expenditures.
In January, Najib Mikati, Lebanon’s interim prime minister, praised US mediator Amos Hochstein and his colleagues for their management of the indirect negotiating process between Lebanon and Israel to demarcate the maritime borders, which ended in an agreement.
The prognosis for Lebanon’s Qana gas field project seemed good in February after Janus 2 concluded an eight-day mission in which it acquired photos of the seafloor and water and sediment samples.