Israel Allows TotalEnergies, Eni to Search for Gas Offshore

Energean’s floating production unit, FPSO, is seen offshore Israel in the eastern Mediterranean. (Energean/Handout via REUTERS)

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 finalized a U.S.-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% interest. Eni holds 40%.

“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,” 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.

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