Lebanon on Thursday granted a license to conduct seismic studies on its offshore Block 8 to the companies Bright Skies and GeoX, caretaker energy minister Walid Fayad said.
Lebanon hopes gas and oil discoveries will help it to reverse a crippling economic crisis that has cost the local currency more than 98% of its value, eroded the country's foreign reserves and caused rolling blackouts across towns and cities.
Exploratory drilling for oil and gas in Lebanon's offshore Block 9 was set to begin on Aug. 24 after a landmark U.S.-brokered agreement last year set a maritime border between Lebanese and Israeli waters for the first time.
Block 8 was previously in a disputed area, and it was not possible to initiate the survey before the demarcation agreement.
"In 2022, a significant achievement was the delineation of maritime boundaries, which came about due to wise leadership and the united stand of various national figures, in addition to the global demand for gas," Fayad said.
(Reuters - Reporting by Maya Gebeily; editing by David Evans)