Photo Credit: Energean (handout)
Energean gas rig in the Israeli offshore Karish field.

The UK-based Energean energy firm has begun testing the lines between Israel and its offshore Karish natural gas field in the Mediterranean.

The testing, which began Sunday, constitutes one of the final steps to take place before extraction of the precious resource begins.


“Following approval received from the Israeli Ministry of Energy to start certain testing procedures, the flow of gas from onshore to the FPSO has commenced,” the company said Sunday in a statement.

The testing will continue for several weeks, the company said.

Israel and Lebanon are continuing US-brokered negotiations over a mutual maritime boundary that will allow both sides to extract energy from undersea gas fields.

A “final” written proposal submitted by US energy envoy Amos Hochstein was reviewed last week by Lebanon and Israel.

However, although Israel accepted the deal submitted by Hochstein, Lebanon added a list of new demands which Israel has rejected.

Nevertheless, according to a report on Monday by the Qatar-owned Al Araby news outlet quoting unidentified Lebanese officials, both sides are to meet on October 20 to officially sign the agreement at United Nations headquarters in New York City, according to the report, which is unconfirmed.

Under the terms of the proposed agreement leaked to media, the entire Karish gas field would remain in Israeli maritime territory, and the Qana gas field – which falls partly in Israeli territory – would be under Lebanese control.

The France-based Total energy firm is being licensed to drill for gas in the Qana field. Beirut was to pay royalties to Jerusalem for use of the portion of the Qana field that lies in Israeli territory, under the negotiated agreement.

Lebanon’s Iranian proxy terror group, Hezbollah, has threatened to attack the Energean rig and Israel if natural gas and oil production begins before a deal is reached.

The Israel Defense Forces moved to high alert in the northern sector last week following Israel’s rejection of the new Lebanese demands.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.