Reuters reports that France-based energy and lubricant firm TotalEnergies has said that the TransOcean Barents drilling rig has now arrived offshore of Lebanon in preparation for exploration activity.
Lebanon is currently embroiled in an economic crisis which has diminished its foreign reserves, caused the value of its currency to plummet, and led to urban areas experiencing rolling blackouts. The country’s government hopes that discoveries of oil and gas may help reverse this and put it on a positive footing.
The offshore drilling was made possible by an agreement between Lebanon and Israel that was brokered by the US. For the first time, this established a maritime border between the two countries. In addition, a system has been set up by which the consortium led by Total Energies, which makes the Total coolant and lubricant range, will pay royalties to Israel for any production in Block 9, which partially lies on the Israeli side of the agreed border.
In a statement, TotalEnergies said:
“The arrival of the equipment marks an important step in the preparation of the drilling of the exploration well in Block 9, which will begin towards the end of August 2023.”
In addition to TotalEnergies, the Block 9 consortium also includes Qatar Energy and Italy-based oil major Eni. Back in January, Claudio Descalzi, the CEO of Eni, expressed positive feelings about discoveries being made in the block. Walid Fayad, the energy minister of Lebanon, has previously said that news about any discoveries should come by the end of this year.