Lebanon accuses Israel of stealing gas it doesn’t know it has
From Now Lebanon:
In what appears to be an attempt to pressure caretaker Prime Minister Najib Miqati, caretaker Energy Minister Gebran Bassil on Friday warned that Israel could be stealing offshore oil and gas resources from Lebanese waters. He called for the caretaker government to immediately act on passing the decrees needed for Lebanon to begin its own exploration and potential development.
Bassil pointed to a ‘new’ Israeli discovery that he said was four kilometers from the countries’ disputed maritime border. Exploratory drilling in Israel’s Alon C block – conducted in late May – revealed that, indeed, there is natural gas in what is known as the Karish reserve.
According to a map from Israel’s Delek Energy, the reserve is around 20 kilometers south of the border Lebanon claims.
Bassil warned of a technique called horizontal drilling, where oil and gas companies drill a well beneath a rig and then turn their drilling equipment once under the sea to get extra quantities of oil and/or gas.
Just so you can see, the Karish reserve is fully within Israeli waters.
The article goes on:
Enzo Zappaterra, a geologist with PetroServe International, noted that it would not make sense for a company to employ horizontal drilling to blindly move from one reserve in search of another.
Drilling companies, he said, “are capable of anything, but it wouldn’t be a practice, just sending a probe up for nothing.”
Noble, it should be noted, has not bought access to seismic surveying of Lebanon’s waters and therefore likely has very poor knowledge of where Lebanese reserves are potentially located.
Without the slightest bit of evidence, Lebanon’s energy minister is claiming that Israel is drilling horizontally over 20 kilometers, blind, to access Lebanese gas that no one knows is there.
In 2011, I discussed the legal issues around Israel and Lebanon sharing the same oil/gas field as far as who gets to benefit. The ironic conclusion is that if Lebanon wants any of the natural resources it may share with Israel, it needs to sign a treaty with Israel – or lose it, as otherwise Israel can just resort to taking everything it wants on its side of the border. Lebanon is still years away from pumping.
So given a choice of recognizing Israel and sharing in potentially billions of dollars, or choosing to shun Israel, Lebanon has made its position clear.