Oil exploration to start in 2019

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A consortium of oil companies are committed to exploring gas in blocks four and nine in 2019, caretaker Energy and Water Minister Cesar Abi Khalil said on Wednesday.

Abi Khalil made the statement after he, caretaker Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil and Norwegian Ambassador to Lebanon Lene Natasha Lind signed the third phase of an oil cooperation and research agreement between the countries.

“Today we signed the third phase of the agreement with Norway within the framework of the oil development program which started between Norway and Lebanon in 2006. Two phases have been implemented with the assistance of other ministries through the establishment of all legal, legislative and regulatory frameworks for the oil sector,” Abi Khalil said.

“We have a consortium of three major companies working in our marine waters in block 4 and 9.

“Last week, the revised exploration plan was signed at the request of the ministry. The companies are committed to starting exploration of gas in these blocks in 2019,” Abi Khalil explained.

In February 2018, Lebanon formally signed off on its first offshore oil and gas contracts.

The contracts were originally agreed in January 2017 with a consortium of international oil giants – French Total, Italian ENI and Russian Novatek.

The three companies, according to the Lebanese Petroleum Administration, will not explore gas close to the so-called disputed line in block 9. LPA added that the drilling will be 25 kilometers away from the disputed zone.