Lebanon Signs First Oil, Gas Exploration Deals, Ignores Israeli Threats
Lebanese Energy Minister Cesar Abi Khalil speaking during the signing ceremony
Islam Times - Lebanon officially signed on Friday its first offshore oil and gas exploration and production contracts for two energy blocks ignoring threats by Israeli regime.
The exploration contracts were signed in Beirut with a consortium of France's Total, Italy's Eni and Russia's Novatek. Speaking during the ceremony, Lebanon's Energy Minister Cesar Abi Khalil vowed there would be full exploration in offshore energy Block 9 ignoring threats by Israeli regime which had warned foreign companies not to sign the lucrative contracts.
"We have confirmed and reaffirmed that Block 9 is located within the Lebanese maritime waters and is fully subject to the sovereignty of the Lebanese state," Abi Khalil said. "And its exploration activities will be fully implemented."
Lebanon and the Israeli regime have engaged in a war of words over the last few days over Beirut’s offshore oil and gas exploration projects.
It all started when the Israeli entity described as “very provocative” a Lebanese tender for projects in two of its 10 offshore blocks in the Mediterranean Sea.
In December, the cabinet of Prime Minister Saad Hariri granted licenses to a consortium of the three international companies to carry out exploratory drilling in Lebanon’s Block 4 and Block 9 territorial waters and determine whether they contain oil and gas reserves.
The announcement did not go down well in Tel Aviv, which claims sovereignty over Block 9.
"When they issue a tender on a gas field, including Block 9, which by any standard is ours ... this is very, very challenging and provocative conduct here,” said Israeli regime's war minister, Avigdor Lieberman.
Lebanon’s resistance movement Hezbollah has vowed to defend the rights of the country in oil and gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean region against any new Israeli aggression.
Hezbollah said Lieberman’s recent comments were “a new aggression,” warning that it would “decisively confront any assault on our oil and gas rights.”
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