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Israel permits Qatari company to drill in Lebanese offshore gas field

Israel and Qatar have no diplomatic relations

Illustrative gas rig (Photo: Shutterstock)

Israel approved a Qatari company to drill for natural gas in the Sidon or Qana maritime reservoir, following an agreement between Jerusalem and Beirut last month over maritime borders. The arrangement gives Israel the right to vet any company seeking to extract gas from the field. 

The Sidon-Qana gas reservoir is located mostly in the agreed-upon Lebanese economic zone but passes into Israel’s waters.

On Tuesday, the Israel Ministry of Energy announced that “in the framework of the agreement … an option was also authorized for the Qatari company Energy Consortium to join,” noting that the action “ensured Israel’s rights” in the Sidon reservoir.

The Qatari company is expected to be active in as much as 30% of Qana’s development, according to Lebanon’s Ministry of Energy and Water; it takes the place of a Russian company originally slated to work with TotalEnergies from France and Italian energy company Eni.

Israel has an agreement with TotalEnergies and ENI which determines the amount of income Israel is allowed to receive. It is especially significant that Israel agreed to the Qatari company’s involvement since the two countries have no diplomatic relations. 

Regardless of the diplomatic situation, Doha recently approved direct commercial flights from Israel to Qatar for the World Cup, which began last Sunday, and permitted Israeli diplomats to install a temporary office in Qatar to assist Israelis who are attending the World Cup games.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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