Macron vows Total’s oil and gas exploration in Lebanon will continue

Gas production at the Qana gas field could bring much-needed cash and new investments to the Lebanese economy.

French President Emmanuel Macron has promised to follow up French energy giant Total’s oil and gas exploration in Lebanon to ensure its continuous work, a statement by Lebanon’s Presidency reported.

“You can count on Total’s commitments; I will follow up on the matter,” Macron said in a phone call with his Lebanese counterpart Michel Aoun.

The leaders of Lebanon and Israel announced Tuesday that the two countries had agreed to resolve a decades-long dispute over their maritime boundary in the eastern Mediterranean. On Thursday, Aoun announced Lebanon’s approval of the final version of the agreement proposed by the U.S. energy envoy Amos Hochstein to demarcate maritime borders with Israel.

The agreement grants Total exploration rights at the Qana gas field. According to the agreement, Qana would be located mostly inside Lebanon, although Total will share some profits with Israel.

For his part, President Aoun emphasized the importance of signing the border demarcation agreement in order to begin drilling operations and then the extraction of oil and gas.

“This will have a positive impact on Lebanon’s stability and the revival of the economy amid the current tough circumstances,” he said.

In fact, the landmark maritime border deal is expected to not only solve the longtime dispute between the two enemy countries but also prevent a potential conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, a Lebanese armed group and political party backed by Iran, experts say.

In a major diplomatic breakthrough, the two countries, which have been in an official state of war since Israel’s statehood in 1948, announced on Tuesday that they reached a U.S.-brokered agreement over a disputed zone in the Eastern Mediterranean, where natural gas fields are located.

The deal allocates exploration and exploitation rights to the French energy giant Total at the contested Qana gas field. Under the deal, Qana would be located mostly within the Lebanese boundary but Total will share some revenues with Israel.

The deal also confirms Israel’s control of Karish, a gas field south of Qana that has been developed by Israel.

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