Lebanon describes gas export options after demarcation of borders with Israel

BEIRUT, 3 Oct – PRIME. The issue of gas exports is not a priority for Lebanon at this stage in connection with the demarcation of borders with Israel, but options are already being worked out, a source in the Lebanese Ministry of Energy told RIA Novosti.

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“The issue of Lebanese gas exports is not a priority, now Beirut wants to resume exploration, which was stopped in the spring of 2020 after one well was drilled by the French company TotalEnergies. The importance of the border demarcation agreement is that it will put an end to the disputes of international companies that have frozen activities” , the source said.

According to him, TotalEnergies intends to start exploration again, but this will take at least two or three years, in case of a discovery of a deposit with significant reserves, the country will choose the way to export gas.

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“The easiest option is to build a gas liquefaction plant near the city of Zahrani in southern Lebanon, if there is a significant amount of gas, and then the gas will be exported by sea to other countries,” the source explained.

Other options include the use of an Israeli gas pipeline that would bring gas to LNG plants in Egypt, after which it would be sent to Europe by ship. Another option is to build a gas liquefaction plant on one of the islands near Cyprus, which is connected by a gas pipeline to Greece, and thus export directly to Europe. The first option is ruled out “completely because of the enmity between Lebanon and Israel.”

It is also possible to use the trans-Arab gas pipeline running through Syria and Jordan to Egypt, but in fact this project has been frozen.

The Lebanese authorities will send a response to the American mediator Amos Hockstein by Tuesday on the proposal for a maritime border with Israel, Lebanese parliament vice speaker Elias Busaab said earlier. On Tuesday, Lebanese authorities discussed a proposal handed over by Hockstein to demarcate maritime borders with Israel.

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On Saturday, Lebanese President Michel Aoun received from the US Ambassador to Beirut, Dorothy Shay, an official response from the Israeli authorities through an American intermediary regarding Lebanese proposals for the demarcation of a common maritime border, including controversial points regarding the division of border offshore gas fields. Israel in June urged the Lebanese authorities to expedite negotiations on the maritime border, called the Karish field its strategic asset and assured that it did not intend to produce gas in the disputed territory.

Land and sea border talks between Lebanon and Israel have been going on in the settlement of Naqoura in southern Lebanon since 1996 on the basis of a memorandum of understanding under the auspices of the United Nations and mediated by the United States.

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