A Total, Eni and Novatek consortium has been awarded offshore energy rights from the Lebanese Government to find and develop oil and natural gas off the country’s Mediterranean coast.
The exploration award is part of Lebanon’s first oil and gas offshore licensing round.
The consortium has successfully won bids for two blocks.
Lebanon Prime Minister Saad Hariri was quoted by French news agency AFP as saying: “After five years of discussions on this question, the government will be in a position to sign the first oil and gas exploration deal.”
The government intends to tap the potential of oil and gas resources off the country’s coast after Cyprus, Egypt, and Israel began operations in the Mediterranean.
Attempts by the government to conduct licensing round have been impeded by political instability since 2013.
Lebanese Petroleum Administration member Wissam Chbat was reported by Bloomberg as saying that the companies will sign production-sharing contracts with the government in January, with drilling expected to begin in 2019.
The latest development comes after the consortium made their bids to explore Block 4 and Block 9 in October this year.
Lebanon Oil Minister Cesar Abi Khalil wrote on Twitter: “Congratulations to the Lebanese people on the passing of the oil decree and on Lebanon entering the club of oil countries.”