(Photo credit: Reuters)
Lebanon’s Energy Minister Walid Fayyad said on 14 October that Qatar has shown an interest in joining the consortium, led by major petroleum firms ENI and TotalEnergies, that will be responsible for extracting and developing gas from the Qana gas field.
The Qana gas field was granted to Lebanon by a maritime border agreement, indirectly negotiated between Beirut and Tel Aviv, which was finally ratified last week after several months of uncertainty.
The Lebanese parliament’s official Twitter page posted a tweet highlighting a visit by Fayyad, Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati, and other officials to the Presidential Palace in commemoration of “the historic achievement of demarcating the borders and consolidating Lebanon’s right to begin exploration work in the Qana field.”
“Minister Fayyad revealed a Qatari desire to enter the alliance to explore for oil in Blocks 4 and 9,” the tweet adds.
2/7 بعد زيارة قمت بها لفخامة رئيس الجمهورية لتهنئته بالإنجاز التاريخي بترسيم الحدود وترسيخ حق لبنان بالمباشرة منذ الآن، بأعمال الاستكشاف في حقل قانا وسائر البلوكات في مياه البحر عندنا.
وكشف الوزير فياض عن رغبة قطرية في الدخول إلى التحالف للتنقيب عن النفط في البلوكين 4 و9 …
— رئاسة مجلس الوزراء 🇱🇧 (@grandserail) October 14, 2022
One day earlier, the US mediator in the indirect Lebanese-Israeli negotiations, Amos Hochstein, said that he was hopeful that the consortium of energy firms involved would be able to begin working the Qana field “within weeks.”
On 11 October, Fayyad and Mikati met with a delegation from TotalEnergies, with the gas giant promising the Lebanese officials that the process would begin “as soon as possible,” but that the logistics of actually exploring and extracting the gas will need time.
French Foreign Minister, Catherine Colonna, announced on 14 October during a meeting with Lebanese President Michel Aoun, that “Total will start its work in detecting and verifying the quality of the existing oil,” adding that things “are on the right track.”
However, experts have suggested that Lebanon could wait up to eight years before making any substantial profit from gas extraction.
Qatar’s interest in joining in on Lebanon’s gas exploration comes as the Gulf state has been expanding its energy projects, and as Europe has been pressuring it to serve as a potential source that could replace Russian energy.
Despite this, Doha has affirmed that it is not capable of replacing Russian gas, and has warned western nations to be wary with their sanctions policies.