Energy Israel begins gas exploration after Lebanon maritime border deal By Reuters November 16, 2022 REUTERS/Aziz Taher Israel's energy ministry says a final and more detailed arrangement will be signed if commercial quantities are discovered Israel has signed an initial agreement with TotalEnergies and Eni that allows the energy companies to start exploring for natural gas within the framework of a landmark maritime border deal with Lebanon. Lebanese and Israeli leaders last month finalised a US-brokered maritime demarcation deal, bringing a measure of accommodation between the enemy states. A focus of the deal was settling a dispute over a potential gas field in Lebanon’s offshore Block 9 that extends into Israeli waters. TotalEnergies is the operator of Block 9 with a 60 percent interest. Eni holds 40 percent. “The Block 9 partners will initiate the exploration of an already identified prospect which might extend both in Block 9 and into Israel waters south of the recently established maritime border line,” TotalEnergies said on Tuesday. Lior Schillat, director-general of Israel’s energy ministry, said the agreement would “allow the development of a gas reservoir that crosses the border between enemy states, an unusual event in the global energy market”. A final, more detailed arrangement will be signed if commercial quantities are discovered, the energy ministry said.