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Drilling to begin on Lebanon’s block 9

Exploratory drilling in Lebanon’s offshore oil and gas block 9 will commence on Thursday of this week, caretaker energy minister Walid Fayad has said.

“On August 24 the drilling process will begin, and it will be a historic day,” the state-owned National News Agency reported, citing the minister.

“After 67 days, we will know the results of this drilling. We hope it will bring good things for the Lebanese,” he said after meeting top executives of France’s TotalEnergies.

TotalEnergies signed a three-way consortium deal with state-owned QatarEnergy and Italy’s oil major Eni to explore for oil and gas in two maritime blocks off the coast of Lebanon, known as blocks 4 and 9.

Following months of talks, QatarEnergy has taken a 30 percent stake in the consortium, leaving TotalEnergies and Eni with 35 percent each.

“TotalEnergies and its partners are fully committed to professional work, and the expectations so far have been extremely positive,” Fayad noted.

TotalEnergies CEO Patrick Pouyanne said in January that the consortium was keen to start work on block 9 “as soon as possible” with well drilling beginning in the third quarter of 2023.

Lebanon hopes oil discoveries will help its moribund economy rebound. In February the government devalued the Lebanese currency by 90 percent and foreign currency reserves are depleting.