Israel signs deal to secure economic rights to gas field on maritime border with Lebanon

JERUSALEM – Israel has signed an agreement with the two energy companies licensed by Lebanon to drill in a gas field on the maritime border between the two countries to secure its economic rights to the field.

The agreement with the consortium of France’s TotalEnergies and Italy’s ENI will ensure that the Qana-Sidon gas field, also known as Block 9, in the Mediterranean will not be developed without keeping Israel’s economic rights, according to an energy ministry statement.

“The agreement with the two companies will contribute to the development of a cross-border reservoir between enemy countries, an unusual event in the global energy market,” said Lior Schillat, director general of the Israeli ministry.

The gas field had been disputed between Lebanon and Israel until it was fully transferred to Lebanon on condition that Israel has the right to share economic profits from its exploration, according to a landmark maritime border agreement signed between the two countries in October.

The amount of compensation Israel is entitled to from TotalEnergies and ENI is expected to be included in a detailed agreement between Israel and the two companies in the future, according to the current agreement.

TotalEnergies on Tuesday announced that it will launch oil and gas exploration in Block 9 of Lebanon’s waters and into Israel waters south of the recently established maritime borderline, Lebanon’s National News Agency reported.

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