Lebanon expects TotalEnergies-led consortium to drill another well at offshore Block 9 as soon as possible, reported Reuters citing Lebanon Energy Minister Walid Fayad.

The consortium could not find enough natural gas to be commercialised following the drilling of the first exploratory well at Block 9.

TotalEnergies operates the Block 9 with 35% interest while other partners include Italian energy giant Eni (35%) and QatarEnergy (30%).

Fayad was quoted by the news agency as saying at the sidelines of an energy conference in Italy: “They drilled in one single location in Block 9, they have the obligation to do another well but the obligation comes later in time.

“We will try to convince TotalEnergies, Eni and QatarEnergy to drill a second well in Block 9 as early as possible, starting maybe early next year.”

The Block 9 is situated along the newly delineated maritime border between Lebanon and Israel.

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The minister said: “We have ten (exploration) blocks, eight of which are still available. At the right time we will open a third licensing round, but for that you need some geopolitical stability to attract players.”

Lebanon anticipates gas and oil discoveries to help ease its crippling economic crisis.

The crisis led to a depreciation of the local currency by over 98%, depleting the nation’s foreign reserves, and triggering power outages, reported Reuters.

In January 2023, QatarEnergy signed agreements with the Government of Lebanon, TotalEnergies and Eni to acquire a 30% stake in Blocks 4 and 9.

TotalEnergies and Eni each hold a 35% interest in the blocks.

Situated approximately 80km off the coast of southern Lebanon in water depths of nearly 1,700 metres (m), Block 9 has a total area of 1,749km².

Block 4, which is located in water depths of approximately 1,500m, has a total area of 1,911km².