Israel has signed an agreement with Italy’s ENI energy giant and the French Total Energies firm that allows the two companies to move forward with exploration of the Qana natural gas field.
The agreement, announced Tuesday, follows a maritime border deal signed between Israel and Lebanon that gives Beirut total control over the Qana gas field – including a portion that overlaps into Israel’s economic energy zone.
The Karish natural gas field will belong solely to Israel. The UK-Greek Energean energy firm began the process of extracting natural gas from Karish several weeks ago.
Total Energies said in a statement that it will “initiate the exploration of an already identified prospect which might extend both in block nine and into Israeli waters south of the recently established maritime border line.”
The French energy firm holds a 60 percent stake in block nine; Italy’s ENI holds 40 percent of the stake.
Under the maritime border agreement signed last month with Lebanon, Israel will receive royalties from the sales of natural gas extracted from the portion of the Qana gas field that lies within Israeli territory.