The Exploration and Production Agreements (EPAs) signed (EPA Block 4 - EPA Block 9 / Addendum Block 4 - Addendum Block 9) in January 2018 between the Republic of Lebanon and Total E&P Liban s.a.l. (Right Holder Operator), Eni Lebanon B.V and Novatek Lebanon (Right Holders Non Operators), requires the consortium to timely submit several plans and programs across the value chain of petroleum activities’ development.

As part of the exploration phase, several plans have already been submitted, reviewed and approved such as:

Exploration Plans

In March 2018, the consortium submitted to the LPA the exploration plans for blocks 4 and 9 in accordance with Article 7.4 of the EPAs signed in January 2018. The exploration plans constitute steering documents describing the implementation of petroleum operations during the exploration period.

The Exploration Plans describe the scope, principles, indicative timeline and the main milestones based on which the Operator will conduct petroleum activities during the first exploration period.

The LPA reviewed the explorations plans and in May 2018 the Minister of Energy and Water approved the revised exploration plans as per the LPA’s recommendation. The approval of the exploration plans constitutes the start of the first exploration period in blocks 4 and 9.

The consortium, leveraging on the companies’ extensive experience in exploration projects, is committed to apply the highest industry standards in order to identify and drill prospects in a timely manner.

According to the exploration plans, the consortium will undertake the following activities during the first exploration period ahead of drilling in blocks 4 and 9:

  • Data reprocessing, such as evaluation, integration and mapping of all available seismic data for blocks 4 and 9.
  • Additional geological and geophysical studies and environmental surveys.
  • Completion of further studies in addition to well preparations ahead of drilling activities,

During the first exploration period the consortium is committed to drilling at least one well in block 4 followed by one well in block 9.

Annual Work Programs and Budgets

The consortium submitted the Annual Work Programs and Budgets for the years 2018, 2019 and 2020 which the LPA reviewed and approved.

The Work Program and Budget for exploration activities is prepared on a yearly basis by the Right Holders to detail the work planned to be conducted by the Operator as per the EPA.

Annual Recruitment and Training Programs

The Offshore Petroleum Resources Law (OPRL), the Petroleum Activities Regulations (PAR) and the Exploration and Production Agreements (EPA) contain provisions requiring Right Holders to develop the Lebanese local content.

Therefore the development and implementation of a training program tailored around the needs of the industry during the exploration period have been identified.

In compliance with the EPA, the consortium submitted to the LPA the Recruitment and Training Programs for 2018, 2019 and 2020 in which the Right Holders describe how they envision to undertake recruitment and training. The Recruitment and Training Programs were subsequently approved by the LPA.

In that respect, the Right Holder Operator organised several trainings for public sector personnel on topics relevant to the exploration phase such as: introduction to exploration and production, resources and reserves evaluation, upstream auditing and emergency preparedness and response. The Right Holder Operator also provided a description of upcoming operations in block 4.

The objective of these trainings is to prepare public sector personnel to undertake their duties to support the development of the petroleum sector efficiently, collaboratively and in an informed manner.

Application for Drilling Permit Submittal and Review

In compliance with Article 92 of the PAR, the consortium represented by the Right Holder Total E&P Liban s.a.l. submitted the Application of Drilling Permit (ADP) for the first exploration well (16/1) in block 4 in October 2019 to the Minister of Energy and Water with a copy to the LPA.

Such a submission is essential and must be done eight weeks prior to the planned commencement of drilling activities due in February 2020.

The ADP consists of a well designation/name proposal and a drilling program. The content of such a permit is described in Article 91 of the PAR such as information about the wells that are to be drilled, schedule for the drilling activities including date of commencement, drilling methods that will be used, the planned sequence of drilling, safety and an assessment of the potential impact on the environment within the area where drilling activities will take place, including mitigation measures.

The Minister of Energy and Water, and based on the opinion of the LPA, approved the ADP for the first exploration well in block 4 on 12 December 2019 allowing the consortium to proceed with the drilling campaign.

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