Lebanon blasts Israel over oil exploration near border
February 2, 2018 -- Lebanon is vowing to go ahead with oil and gas exploration near its maritime border with Israel, despite Israeli claims to the offshore energy block.
In December, the Lebanese Cabinet approved licenses for three international companies to carry out exploratory drilling off the Lebanese coast. The licenses will allow Italy’s Eni, France’s Total and Russia’s Novatek, who bid for two of Lebanon’s 10 offshore blocks, to determine whether oil and gas exist.
A major find in Lebanon’s southernmost waters could raise the possibility of a dispute with Israel, which is developing a number of offshore gas deposits, with one large field, Tamar, already producing gas, and the larger Leviathan field set to go online next year.
There are over 800 square kilometres of waters claimed by the two countries, which are technically in a state of conflict. Israel and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah fought a month-long war in 2006.