Offshore Drilling in Lebanon's Block 9 Still Ongoing, Despite Border Clashes with Israel

Offshore drilling operations in Lebanon's Block 9 are still ongoing, despite recent land border clashes between Lebanon and Israel, Walid Fayad, Lebanon's energy minister, told Reuters.

"It's in everyone's interest to continue as long as there are signs of stability," said Walid Fayad. 

The Transocean Barents arrived in Lebanon’s Block 9 in mid-August to begin oil and gas exploration in the Mediterranean Sea, on behalf of TotalEnergies-led consortium.

According to Welligence Energy Analytics, TotalEnergies is using the Transocean Barents to drill the Qana gas prospect in Block 9, which it says is on trend with the giant finds made to the southwest in Israeli waters.

The consortium includes Italian oil firm Eni and Qatar's state-owned QatarEnergy. 

Per an updated Reuters report, the Transocean Barents start drilling in late August and was expected to have preliminary results by the end of October or in November.

According to Reuters, Fayad stated that he and the TotalEnergies-led consortium had not yet discussed contingency plans, such as evacuations for staff aboard the semi-submersible offshore drilling rig, that could be implemented if a larger conflict erupted.

Reuters reported Wednesday that Israeli shelling hit southern Lebanese towns in response to a fresh rocket attack by Hezbollah, as cross-border violence extended into a fourth day.

Earlier this week, Reuters reported that Chevron had stopped gas production from the Tamar field offshore Israel, following an outbreak of violence in the region.

Reuters said that Chevron, which operates the field, confirmed it had been instructed by the ministry to shut down the field, located some 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) off the city of Ashdod along Israel's southern Mediterranean coast.

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