French major TotalEnergies (60%op) and Italian partner Eni (40%) say they are ready to expedite exploration drilling of the Qana prospect on Lebanon’s offshore Block 9. With previously-shot seismic data indicating that Qana crosses over into Israeli waters the prospect played a key part in the negotiations that finally yielded a historic maritime border deal last month between the two enemy states (MEES, 14 October).

With Lebanon and Israel having no diplomatic relations, negotiations were carried out with US officials as intermediaries. The resultant deal then envisaged that Total would act as an intermediary with Israel in terms of exploration and any future production (including payments): by making the French major responsible for handing over Israel’s share of royalties this would enable Lebanon to avoid dealing with Israel directly, a prerequisite for Beirut in striking last month’s deal. (CONTINUED - 1267 WORDS)