Lebanon gave the green light to the consortium of oil companies to start drilling for gas in Block 4 in January 2020, Caretaker Energy and Water Minister Nada Boustani. “We have given the permit to the oil companies that won the contract to explore for gas in the maritime zone block four in January 2020. The exploration will take around two months and it will take another two months to evaluate the results to determine if there is commercial gas quantities in this block,” Boustani told reporters during a news conference that was attended by representatives of the consortium companies.
In February 2018, Lebanon signed its first offshore oil and gas exploration and production agreements with the Total-Eni-Novatek consortium for offshore blocks 4 and 9.
Lebanon is pinning high hopes on the discovery of gas off the Lebanese coast as this step would boost confidence in the country and improve the country’s credit ratings in the future.
“This event is the result of the accumulated efforts of the previous ministers since 2010. The most important of these efforts was preparing the necessary laws and decrees and launching the first licensing round to sign contracts for blocks No. 4 and 9,” Boustani said.
She said this license confirms that the Lebanese state, with its departments and ministries and companies, has completed the required geological, technical, environmental and logistical and administrative preparations, according to the Lebanese regulations and international standards in the petroleum sector.
“The well will be drilled by the Vantage ship currently in Egypt, and will head to Lebanon as soon as this process is completed. We expect the ship to arrive during January 2020, and the drilling process will take about two months, in addition to two months to analyze the data and assess the possibility of a commercial exploration or not,” Boustani said.
The Lebanese Petroleum Administration will closely coordinate with the Total as operator during the exploration period on blocks four and nine.
LPA officials have repeatedly said that it is too early to talk about the possible size of hydrocarbons off the Lebanese coast, stressing that once the exploration starts, Lebanon will have a clear idea about the actual size of gas in Lebanon.
Lebanon launched few months ago the second licensing round for five more offshore blocks which will close end of January 2020.