Lebanon, after years of delays, is nearing its first ever offshore exploration well. French major Total will next month drill the ‘Byblos’ prospect in 1,515ms of water depth some 25km northwest of Beirut on Block 4 (Total 40%op, Eni 40%, Russia’s Novatek 20%).

On 12 December, the Energy Ministry issued Total its drilling permit – the final step needed for drilling to commence, and a positive indicator that the country’s ongoing economic and political woes (see p12) are unlikely to delay exploration efforts. (CONTINUED - 443 WORDS)