On the 9th of February 2018 the official signing ceremony of two exclusive petroleum rights awarded to the
consortium composed of Total – Eni - Novatek was held in Beirut. The ceremony was attended by the President
of the Republic of Lebanon General Michel Aoun, along ministers and Members of Parliament, together with
Ambassadors, companies representatives and other stakeholders.
The ceremony marks the successful accomplishments of the past years which culminated in the award of two Exploration and Production Agreements (EPAs) to a consortium led by France’s Total as a Right Holder Operator, Italy’s Eni as a Right Holder Non-Operator and Russia’s Novatek as a Right Holder Non-Operator to explore, develop and produce the hydrocarbons potential of Blocks 4 and 9 in Lebanon’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
The President of the Republic of Lebanon General Michel Aoun’s key address emphasized that Lebanon made history today adding that this is the beginning of a new stage, in which all the Lebanese people have merits.
The Minister of Energy and Water H.E. Cesar Abi Khalil delivered a speech announcing that Lebanon started its petroleum journey as it is signing the agreements and launching exploration activities. In turn, a panel brought together the Lebanese Petroleum Administration’s Chairman Mr. Walid Nasr together with Total’s President for the Middle East and North Africa Region Mr. Stéphane Michel, Eni’s Executive Vice President for Middle East Region Mr. Fuad Krekshi, and Novatek Lebanon SAL’s Chairman and General Manager Mr. Slava Mishin.
Mr. Nasr started the panel discussion thanking all institutions that helped Lebanon reach this milestone today and recognised all the hard work that led to the award of two exclusive petroleum rights to the consortium thus concluding Lebanon’s First Offshore Licensing Round on a successful note. Mr. Nasr then spoke about the role of the Lebanese Government and its institutions during the upcoming exploration phase, and reiterated on the importance to raise preparedness among institutions throughout the development of the sector and to continue working inclusively and in a participatory manner with stakeholders. Mr. Nasr concluded saying that the Lebanese institutions are ready to kick-start the petroleum sector operational phase and stressed that the LPA will be actively involved in the sector development together with other institutions.
In turn, Mr. Michel expressed his pride on behalf of Total in being the Operator of a consortium that is the first one exploring the Lebanese offshore, hoping that in ten years from now we will be able to say that this is where everything began. Mr. Michel said that Total’s presence in Lebanon is a natural choice that reinforces the company already strong and strategic presence in Lebanon and the Middle East. Finally Mr. Michel detailed the consortium’s plan with respect to the exploration activities in blocks 4 and 9. In this regard, Mr. Michel explained that a first well will be drilled in 2019 in block 4, while the second well will be drilled in block 9.
During the panel Mr. Krekshi and Mr. Mishin also intervened and clarified the drivers behind their presence in Lebanon drawing on the East Med latest developments especially with respect to Eni’s Zohr discovery in Egypt and with respect to Novatek’s LNG market. Furthermore, videos prepared by the LPA were broadcasted during the ceremony showcasing the historical, institutional and legislative developments of the petroleum sector in Lebanon, the second video detailed the next steps needed and expected from Lebanon as the country enters its operational phase. The consortium also showed videos that highlight the comparative advantage of the three companies emphasizing on their technical expertise, financial strength and market access to name few characteristics.