A consortium of France’s Total, Italy’s Eni and Russia’s Novatek remains committed to an oil exploration deal it signed with Lebanon in 2018, the Lebanese Petroleum Administration (LPA) said Monday.
The LPA through a statement responded to claims by the local press that the consortium had postponed its work in Block 9, which covers 860 square kilometers (332 square miles) and is thought to contain rich oil and natural gas deposits.
While the consortium remains committed to the deal, work on the block has been postponed until Oct. 22, 2022 due to conditions derived from the COVID-19 pandemic, the statement said.
According to the original deal signed between the country and the consortium, the latter will explore for oil and gas during a five-year exploration phase, which can be extended up to 10 years with the approval of the Lebanese Council of Ministers.
If the consortium discovers oil or gas, it must produce during a 25-year production phase which can be extended by five years if additional investments are made.
Reporting by Gulsen Topcu in Beirut, Lebanon
Writing by Ahmet Gencturk