Illustration; Source: TotalEnergies

QatarEnergy joins TotalEnergies and Eni on two exploration blocks in Mediterranean’s gas-rich waters

Oil and gas giants, France’s TotalEnergies and Italy’s Eni, have completed the transfer of a partial interest to Qatar’s QatarEnergy for two offshore blocks located in Lebanese waters.

Illustration; Source: TotalEnergies

Following the agreement on the maritime border between Lebanon and Israel over an allegedly gas-rich area in the Mediterranean, France’s TotalEnergies signed a framework agreement with Israel, together with Italy’s Eni, to implement the maritime boundary agreement in mid-November 2022.

At the time, it was disclosed that the TotalEnergies-led consortium might get a third partner, as Qatar was in talks with the French and Italian oil majors for a 30 per cent stake in the exploration block.

In an update on Monday, 30 January 2023, TotalEnergies revealed that the transfer to QatarEnergy of a 30 per cent interest in exploration blocks 4 and 9 off the coast of Lebanon had been completed.

Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman and CEO of TotalEnergies, remarked: “We are very pleased to welcome QatarEnergy in our exploration acreage in Lebanon. The recent delineation of Lebanon’s maritime border with Israel has created a new momentum for the exploration of its hydrocarbon potential.

“Along with our partners, we are committed to drilling as soon as possible in 2023 an exploration well in Block 9, and our teams are mobilised to conduct these operations.”

The French energy giant explained that these agreements were endorsed in Beirut on January 29, during a ceremony attended by Dr Walid Fayad, the Minister of Energy and Water of Lebanon; Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, Qatar’s Minister of State for Energy Affairs and President and CEO of QatarEnergy; Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman and CEO of TotalEnergies; and Claudio Descalzi, CEO of Eni.

Signing ceremony; Source: Eni
Signing ceremony; Source: Eni

Under the terms of these deals, TotalEnergies, as the operator, and Eni, as its other partner, will each retain a 35 per cent interest in the blocks with QatarEnergy holding the remaining 30 per cent.

According to the French energy player, this new partnership further expands the cooperation between TotalEnergies and QatarEnergy in exploration activities and brings the number of countries where the two companies have partnerships to nine.

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In a separate statement, Eni confirmed the completion of the transfer of a 30 per cent stake in the two offshore blocks to QatarEnergy. The Italian giant says this strengthens the strategic cooperation with QatarEnergy, a partner in Qatar, Oman, Mexico, Morocco and Mozambique, and confirms the interest in the exploratory basins in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The Block 9 partners are expected to drill an already identified gas prospect – Qana – which lies mostly in the Lebanese territory but could extend into Israeli waters south of the newly established maritime border.

If the drilling of this prospect results in a hydrocarbon discovery, both Israel and Lebanon would be entitled to payments, when gas is produced. Block 9 is situated in the offshore basin of Lebanon, known as the Levantine Basin, in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea.