QatarEnergy is planning to form a three-way consortium with TotalEnergies and Eni for oil and gas exploration in two maritime blocks off the coast of Lebanon, reported Reuters, citing the Lebanese energy ministry.

Lebanon Energy Minister Walid Fayad was quoted by the news agency as saying: “This will be a major positive development.”

Upon signing the agreement, the partners could initiate exploration activities in the country from November 2023.

One of the sources said QatarEnergy is looking to acquire an approximately 30% stake in the projects, in which TotalEnergies is expected to initially invest $10bn. TotalEnergies and Eni will own a 35% stake each.

Following Lebanon’s first licensing round in 2017, a consortium of TotalEnergies, Eni, and Russia’s Novatek secured bids for the oil and gas exploration activities at offshore blocks 4 and 9.

Following Novatek’s exit from the consortium in 2022, its 20% stake was transferred to the Lebanese government.

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Block 9 is located mostly in Lebanese waters. However, a segment of the block lies south of the newly delineated Israeli border.

A separate agreement was signed between TotalEnergies and Israel for any revenues generated from the operations in the segment.

In a separate announcement, Qatar is in deliberations with TotalEnergies to acquire a stake in the $27bn cluster of energy projects in Iraq, reported Reuters, citing three sources.

The projects include injecting seawater into oilfields to increase crude recovery, construction of a gas processing plant, increasing production from the Ratawi oilfield, and building a solar power plant.