RAVENNA, Italy (Reuters) – Lebanon wants a consortium led by TotalEnergies to drill another well at offshore Block 9 quickly, after a first well did not find enough natural gas to be commercialised, energy minister Walid Fayad told Reuters.
The consortium drilling in Block 9 also includes Italian energy group Eni and state-owned QatarEnergy.
“They drilled in one single location in Block 9, they have the obligation to do another well but the obligation comes later in time,” Fayad told Reuters at the sidelines of an energy conference in Italy.
“We will try to convince TotalEnergies, Eni and QatarEnergy to drill a second well in Block 9 as early as possible, starting maybe early next year,” the minister added.
Block 9 is one of the blocks falling alongside the newly delineated maritime border between Lebanon and Israel.
“We have 10 (exploration) blocks, eight of which are still available. At the right time we will open a third licensing round, but for that you need some geopolitical stability to attract players,” the minister said.
Lebanon hopes gas and oil discoveries will help it reverse a crippling economic crisis that has driven the local currency down more than 98% in value, eroded the country’s foreign reserves and caused rolling blackouts across towns and cities.
(Reporting by Francesca Landini; Editing by Mark Potter)