Eni, Total firm up Lebanon acreage entry

Italian oil company Eni, French oil giant Total, and Russian Novatek have signed two exploration and production agreements (EPA) with the government of Lebanon covering Blocks 4 and 9, located in the deep waters offshore Lebanon.

As previously reported by Offshore Energy Today, the blocks were awarded late last year to a consortium comprising of Eni, Total, and Novatek as part of Lebanon’s much-delayed first international competitive offshore licensing round launched by Lebanese Petroleum Authority.

Total is the operator with a 40% stake, Eni got a 40% interest and Novatek the remaining 20% interest.

The agreements, covering Blocks 4 and 9 located in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea, provide for the drilling of at least one well per block in the first three years.

Announcing the signing of the EPA, Eni said on Friday, “The agreements open the way for the exploration of the offshore of Lebanon and further strengthen the company’s presence in the Eastern Mediterranean, where the company operates exploration and production activities in Egypt and exploration activities in Cyprus.”

The exploration phase starts following the signing of the EPA and it will last up to five years with the possibility of having a one-year extension. The ultimate goal of the exploration phase is to strike a commercial discovery.

Total said in a separate statement on Friday that the consortium’s priority will be to drill a first exploration well on Block 4 in 2019.

Stéphane Michel, Senior Vice President Middle East/ North Africa, Exploration & Production at Total: “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.”

As for Block 9, Total said that it and its partners are fully aware of the Israeli-Lebanese border dispute in the southern part of the block that covers only very limited area (less than 8% of the block’s surface). Given 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.

Offshore Energy Today Staff