Total says Lebanon offshore drilling halfway done

Lebanon’s first-ever offshore exploratory drilling is continuing on schedule amid a partial national lockdown over the coronavirus pandemic. It is halfway complete in Block 4 according to the General Manager of Total E&P Lebanon, Ricardo Darre. 

Darree said that the drilling was ongoing at a depth of about 3000 meters and would take a total of about 60 days. Then, he said the same amount of time should be given for analysis of the find to determine its commercial viability. 

Darre said that the well should be complete by late April, after which the commercial viability will be assessed by late June. “Normally, if you drill into a prospect and there is nothing you know pretty quickly, and if it’s phenomenally big you also know pretty quickly. But 80 percent of the time it’s shades of grey,” he said. 

Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Total chief said that the crew aboard the drill vessel off Beirut’s coast were now there for extended stays, working more than 5 weeks straight instead of their normal four-weeks-on, four-weeks-off rotation.  However, he admitted “there is a limit to how much we can ask from people.”

As precautionary measures, Darre said all crew were undergoing a 14-day quarantine period and coronavirus testing before being let on the drill rig. 

Total leads a consortium with Italy-based Eni and Russia’s Novatek that is licensed to drill in two of Lebanon’s 10 offshore blocks: 4 and 9.

Drilling in Block 9 is scheduled to take place in December but may be subject to delays. Darre said this “might affect” drilling planned in southern Block 9 later in the year. “We are sticking with the work program to drill by the end of the year, but what happens with the coronavirus between now and the end of the year, I don’t know.”

Source: LOGI Newsletter