LPA head Walid Nasr, Abi Khalil and Managing Director of Total Liban Philippe Amblard speak during a news conference in Beirut , Tuesday, May 29, 2018. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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The first phase of exploration for Lebanon's potential offshore oil reserves is set to start this week, caretaker Energy Minister Cesar Abi Khalil said at a news conference Tuesday.A plan by the three companies in the consortium that won the rights to run the first phase of exploration – France's Total, Italy's ENI and Russia's Novatek – had been submitted and approved by the government, Abi Khalil said.The consortium had 60 days to submit its exploration plan and another 60 days was allotted for the Lebanese Petroleum Administration and the ministry to study and approve it.The caretaker energy minister said that the first phase of exploration will begin this week in maritime blocks 4 and 9, and will last through 2019 .The country signed its first offshore oil and gas exploration and production agreement for two of Lebanon's 10 offshore blocks on Feb. 9, 2018, with the consortium of the three companies.In Block 9 itself, 145-148 square kilometers are disputed, out of its 1,700 square kilometer area.
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