Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Lebanon’s Block 9 Exploration Begins as Drilling Rig Arrives – Minister


TransOcean Barents Drilling Rig Arrives in Lebanon’s Block 9 for Exploration Activities

TransOcean Barents Drilling Rig


The TransOcean Barents drilling rig has arrived in Lebanon’s Block 9, marking the beginning of exploration activities in the area. This development follows a landmark US-brokered agreement last year that established the maritime border between Lebanon and Israel. The drilling consortium in Block 9 is led by France’s TotalEnergies, with participation from Italian oil giant ENI and state-owned QatarEnergy.

Expectations for Discovery

Lebanon’s energy minister, Walid Fayad, expressed optimism in May, stating that he expected to know whether there would be a discovery in Block 9 by the end of the year. ENI CEO Claudio Descalzi also expressed positivity about the potential for a discovery earlier this year. The exploration and discovery of commercial quantities of oil and gas in Lebanon’s waters could significantly contribute to overcoming the country’s ongoing economic crisis.

Potential Benefits for Lebanon

If oil and gas reserves are found in Block 9, Lebanon stands to gain a significant share of the resources. The country’s share would range from 54 to 63 percent after deducting operational and capital costs associated with extraction. This could provide a much-needed boost to Lebanon’s economy and help alleviate the financial challenges it currently faces.

Recognition for US Mediator

Najib Mikati, the Lebanese caretaker prime minister, expressed gratitude to US mediator Amos Hochstein and his team for their role in facilitating the negotiation process between Lebanon and Israel. The successful demarcation of maritime borders at the end of last year paved the way for exploration activities in Block 9. The agreement reached between the two countries was a significant milestone in ensuring peaceful cooperation in the region.

Progress in Qana Gas Field Project

In February, the Qana gas field project in Lebanon showed promising signs of progress. The Janus 2 mission completed an eight-day operation, collecting valuable data from the seabed. The mission involved capturing images, collecting water samples, and sediment analysis. These findings contribute to the ongoing assessment of the potential resources in the Qana gas field.


The arrival of the TransOcean Barents drilling rig in Lebanon’s Block 9 marks an important milestone in the country’s pursuit of oil and gas exploration. With the involvement of major players such as TotalEnergies, ENI, and QatarEnergy, there is a sense of optimism regarding potential discoveries. Lebanon’s economic crisis could potentially be alleviated with the discovery of commercial quantities of oil and gas. The successful negotiation of maritime borders between Lebanon and Israel, facilitated by US mediator Amos Hochstein, has laid the foundation for peaceful cooperation in the region. As progress continues in projects like the Qana gas field, Lebanon’s energy sector holds great promise for the future.

Keywords: TransOcean Barents drilling rig, Lebanon, Block 9, exploration activities, TotalEnergies, ENI, QatarEnergy, oil and gas discovery, economic crisis, maritime borders, US mediator, Qana gas field project

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