Total said it led a group in signing two exploration and production contracts covering offshore Lebanon blocks, but it will explore outside of a disputed area.
The group was awarded rights for Block 4 and 9 in eastern Mediterranean Sea, in which Total holds 40 per cent interest and operatorship, while partners Eni and Novatek hold 40 and 20 per cent respectively. The companies will drill at least one well per block in the first three years, Total said in a statement.
The Lebanese government awarded the contract to the group in January in its first offshore licensing round, sparking anger from Israeli authorities, who said the blocks cover an area within its waters – a claim disputed by Lebanon.
Total said the group is fully aware of the Israeli-Lebanese border dispute in the southern part of Block 9, which covers only very limited area (less than 8 per cent of the block’s surface) and that the main prospects are located more than 25km from the disputed area.
“The consortium confirms that the exploration well on Block 9 will have no interference at all with any fields or prospects located south of the border area,” Total said.
The consortium's priority will be to drill a first exploration well on Block 4 in 2019.
“An established player in Lebanon’s marketing sector, Total is delighted to expand its presence in the country to the exploration & production segment. These agreements are part of the group’s exploration strategy in the Mediterranean region,” said Stéphane Michel, senior vice president Middle East and North Africa for exploration and production at Total.