In an effort to buy more time for negotiators to strike a deal on delineating the Israel-Lebanon maritime border, Israel’s Energy Ministry is stressing that any near-term gas output from the 1.4tcf Karish field should be considered as just test volumes and not the field’s official start-up.

Hezbollah has threatened to attack Karish if production were to start up before a resolution of the two countries' border dispute (MEES, 16 September), whilst former Israeli PM (and candidate in 1 November elections) Benyamin Netanyahu on 20 September released a video accusing current PM Yair Lapid of having “totally folded in the face of [Hezbollah leader] Nasrallah’s threats.” This is a reference to suggestions from Israeli officials last week (subsequently resiled from) that Karish start-up might be delayed to give US brokered discussions more time. Both Israeli and Lebanese officials reported on 19 September that they regarded a deal as close. (CONTINUED - 296 WORDS)