According to a press release by the Ministry of Energy and Water in the caretaker government, the offshore exploration activities are continuing but with some minor delays.
Hence, with the beginning of the year 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the petroleum industry, which has forced international oil companies to reduce worldwide exploration activities, and this is due to companies having to reduce their annual budgets and to the difficulty of working in maritime waters in light of the preventive measures taken to avoid virus.
As for Lebanon, the Ministry confirmed that the consortium of companies consisting of Total, ENI and Novatek continues its petroleum activities under the leadership of the operator Total, especially that, due to the implementation of the amended Law 160/2020 (suspension of deadlines), the first exploration period was extended in each of Blocks 4 and 9 in the Lebanese maritime waters until August 13 of the year 2022.
The consortium has presented the Work and Budget Programs for Blocks 4 and 9 for the year 2021, which include studies and data analysis to complete the activities in Block 4 in which an exploration well was drilled in implementation of the obligations stipulated in the Exploration and Production Agreement, and for the drilling of the first exploration well in Block 9, which the consortium shall drill before the end of the first exploration period.
Based on the above, Total shall finish the well drilling in Block 9 before August 13, 2022. Thus, preparation works are expected to start in the second quarter of 2022. According to informed sources, the maritime borders negotiations between Lebanon and Israel shall not affect the set schedule.
The Ministry of Energy and Water and the Lebanese Petroleum Administration are following up with the consortium the implementation of the work programs in order to meet the new deadline.