TotalEnergies and Italian hydrocarbon giant ENI have signed a framework agreement with Israel over a gas field shared with Lebanon, the French energy giant said Tuesday.
It comes after Lebanon and Israel said in October that they had struck an “historic” deal to resolve a maritime border dispute involving offshore gas fields after years of U.S.-mediated talks.
The same month Lebanon had asked TotalEnergies to kickstart gas exploration off its shores.
TotalEnergies said that after signing the agreement it “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.”
Lebanon divided its exclusive economic zone at sea into ten “blocks”, and block 9 was part of the area disputed with Israel.
TotalEnergies holds a 60 percent stake in block 9, while ENI holds 40 percent.
“By bringing our expertise in offshore exploration, we will respond to the request of both countries to assess the materiality of hydrocarbon resources and production potential in this area,” said Patrick Pouyanne, CEO of TotalEnergies.
With demand for gas rising worldwide because of the energy crisis sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Lebanon hopes exploiting the offshore field will help ease its economic crisis.