Israeli exploration move threatens Lebanon’s oil wealth – parliament speaker

Lebanon’s parliament speaker Nabih Berri said on Thursday that an Israeli move to license energy exploration near a disputed maritime boundary threatened to drain Lebanese oil wealth before its own drilling had started. The previous day, Berri accused Israel of breaching Lebanese waters by licensing a company to exploit the area, Reuters reported. Israel’s Foreign Ministry has not commented on the accusation. Lebanon last year licensed a consortium of Italy’s Eni, France’s Total, and Russia’s Novatek to carry out the country’s first offshore energy exploration in two blocks. One of the blocks, Block 9, contains waters disputed with Israel. Berri said the Israeli move threatened “to drain a whole basin and a large part of the oil wealth.”