Hezbollah Warns Israel against Drilling in Disputed Waters

October 25, 2021

Halliburton in September secured an integrated services contract to execute a three to five well drilling and completions campaign for the Mediterranean Sea-focused oil and gas firm Energean. Stena Drilling's Stena Icemax drillship will be used for the drilling campaign off Israel. Image Credit: Iulian Hirlea/MarineTraffic.com
Halliburton in September secured an integrated services contract to execute a three to five well drilling and completions campaign for the Mediterranean Sea-focused oil and gas firm Energean. Stena Drilling's Stena Icemax drillship will be used for the drilling campaign off Israel. Image Credit: Iulian Hirlea/MarineTraffic.com

The leader of Lebanon's Hezbollah on Friday warned Israel against drilling for oil and gas in the disputed maritime border area between the two countries until the issue is resolved, and said the Iran-backed group would take action if it did so.

"If the enemy thinks they can act as they please before reaching a solution to this issue they are wrong," Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised speech.

Lebanon's cabinet had raised the question to the United Nations permanent representative and others in the international community after Israel granted U.S. oilfield services group Halliburton an offshore drilling contract in the Mediterranean, asking to clarify whether the drilling would take place in disputed areas. read more

Lebanon and Israel are in dispute over the delineation of their territorial waters and negotiations between the old foes could lead to Lebanon being able to unlock valuable gas reserves amid its worst-ever financial crisis.

Israel already pumps gas from huge offshore fields.

The two countries have been holding on-off U.S. mediated talks since October to try to resolve the issue.

"I will not state any positions on this as I don't want to complicate the negotiations but for sure the resistance in Lebanon at the right time through following this issue when it finds that Lebanese oil and gas is in danger in the disputed area it will act accordingly," Nasrallah said.

The U.S. mediator for the indirect talks, Amos Hochstein, visited Beirut this week and said a period of shuttle diplomacy would proceed any return to indirect talks between the two countries similar to those held in October 2020 at the United Nations' peacekeepers base in Lebanon's Naqoura. read more

(Reporting By Laila Bassam and Maha El Dahan Editing by Chris Reese and Angus MacSwan)



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