Photo Credit: Energean
The floating production rig at Israel's Karish reservoir, 56 miles off the coast.

The Israel-Lebanon maritime border deal approved by both sides is not – contrary to the coverage – sealed yet.

Lebanon Says Netanyahu Can’t Change Maritime Border Deal


The deal was signed on Thursday, October 27 by the Israeli and Lebanese governments, and by the White House, in separate ceremonies intended to underline Lebanon’s continued unwillingness to consider “normalization” with Israel.

Incoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed, however, to “neutralize” the agreement, citing extreme concessions the caretaker government of Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid made as part of the deal.

Under the agreement, Israel retains rights to the Karish offshore gas field, where the UK-Greek Energean firm announced extraction of natural gas began on October 26, but ceded claims to the Qana gas field to Lebanon. Qana is believed to hold double the amount of natural gas held in Karish.

But it appears the agreement is not quite a “done deal” after all: An agreement has yet to be closed with the French Total Energies company that is being tasked with extracting natural gas for Lebanon from the Qana offshore gas field.

Text of the Lebanon Maritime Border Deal, and What Exactly Israel Lost

According to the agreement, Israel will receive royalties for sale of the gas extracted from the 17 percent of the Qana field located in Israel’s economic energy zone.

But the Italian ENI energy firm, which holds 40 percent of the Qana field, and veto power, was not consulted during the talks and has yet to approve the agreement.

Total Energies promised to obtain agreement from Eni, according to sources who spoke with the Globes business news site – but failed to do so. Moreover, the company has yet to agree on how profits will be divided with Israel.

Israel has hired a US law firm that specializes in such agreements, because it is US law that is applicable to the economic clauses of the deal.

Lebanon is not involved in the agreement between Israel, Total Energies and ENI.

According to Israel’s Ministry of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources, the start of production from Qana depends on completing the detailed compensation agreement between Israel and the two energy companies.

Total Energies holds 40 percent of the rights to develop the field, and another 20 percent in trust. But without the approval of its partner, ENI, the agreement is effectively on hold.

“It is possible there will be a need for political involvement with the Italian government, which owns a third of ENI,” one of the sources told Globes.

A geological survey of the Qana field estimated the reserve to contain 100 billion cubic meters (BCM), about double the amount in Israel’s Karish gas field, making it more profitable.


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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.