Mikati asks Total to begin drilling for gas in Lebanese waters
Now that Lebanon has received the "draft" border demarcation agreement from the US mediator, Lebanon's PM asks a Total delegation to begin drilling for gas in Lebanese waters.
Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati hoped that Lebanon's maritime demarcation dispute reaches an end soon, following the success of the efforts made by US mediator Amos Hochstein in reaching an agreement that preserves Lebanese rights.
As Mikati received a copy of the final draft agreement from Deputy Speaker Elias Bou Saab, after Lebanese President Michel Aoun received it from Hochstein, the PM said that Lebanon's united stance on the matter and its resoluteness with regard to its rights and demands led to this positive outcome.
Mikati further added, "We all hope that things are wrapped up so that we may begin practical steps to drill for gas in Lebanese waters.
Mikati thanked the US administration for its "efforts in order to reach this deal, in particular US mediator Amos Hochstein, who led the negotiations with precision, professionalism, and patience."
He also thanked France, who had direct contributions to reaching this deal and removing obstacles that emerged during these indirect negotiations.
Following this statement, Mikati met with Energy Minister Walid Fayad, along with a delegation from French oil giant Total, comprising Total Lebanon Chairman Romain de La Martiniere, Head of TotalEnergies Exploration and Production Branch Laurent Vivier, and TotalEnergies Director of North Africa and Yemen Jean Jaylet.
During the meeting, Mikati requested that Total immediately proceeds with drilling for gas in Lebanese waters, while Energy Minister Walid Fayad stressed his country's right to the full share of the Qana field, without sharing it, in addition to the need to hastily begin drilling.
Fayad also said that this development is very positive for Lebanon and will allow it to become a part of the Mediterranean's oil producers.
Logistics will take some time, the Energy Minister clarified, adding that practical steps will begin immediately, and Total is taking things seriously.
Earlier today, the Lebanese presidency confirmed today that "the final version of the southern maritime borders agreement is satisfactory and meets the Lebanese demands".
The presidency pointed out through its Twitter account that it received the official final amended version submitted by US mediator Amos Hochstein of the southern maritime borders agreement, stressing that "the final version preserved Lebanon's rights to its natural wealth during an important time for the Lebanese."