NNA - President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, confirmed that year 2020 will witness the start of oil and gas exploration in Lebanese territorial waters, in the hope that Lebanon will then become one of the oil producing countries.
"This will give a positive impetus to the Lebanese economy and improve the difficult conditions that Lebanon is going through" the President said.
President Aoun congratulated the Lebanese on this achievement, stating that "It was achieved by insisting on making use of oil and gas wealth in Lebanese waters, translated in the first decision issued by the Council of Ministers in its first session, held by the Government, after gaining confidence at the start of my Presidential term."
The President also praised the efforts made by the Minister of Energy and Water, and those who preceded her in the Ministry, to put this achievement into effect.
President Aoun's stances came during his reception, before noon at Baabda Palace, the Caretaker Minister of Energy and Water, Nada Al-Boustani, accompanied by a delegation of the "Petroleum Sector Management Authority", which included head of the Authority, Walid Nasr, head of the Technical and Engineering Affairs Unit, Nasser Hotteit, and the head of the Legal Affairs Unit, Gabi Daaboul, and the head of the Unit Quality, Health, Safety and Environment, Assem Abu Ibrahim and Coordinator of the Minister of Energy in the Petroleum Sector Management Authority, Lina Demerjian, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Total Lebanon, Ricardo Dari.
Minister Boustani and the accompanying delegation briefed the President on the stages completed by the oil and gas exploration process, in Block No. 4, on the Lebanese coast, and measures taken to this end.
At the end of the meeting, Minister Boustani handed the President of the Republic a copy of the first license, to drill an oil well, in Lebanese waters, which was received by the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Total Lebanon during a ceremony held at the Ministry of Energy and Water.
After the meeting, Minister Boustani gave the following statement:
"We came today to hand over to His Excellency, President General Michel Aoun, a copy of the well drilling license that we handed over to the Total Consortium, Eni, Novatek, and we informed him of the subsequent work that this consortium will do. His Excellency hoped that the result of drilling the first exploration well, in Block No. 4, would be positive, and we all hope, for the sake of the Lebanese, that the result will be positive."
In response to a question about Block No. 9, she explained, "There are preparations taking place, in parallel to Block No. 9, and after drilling the well in Block No. 4. We will be informed about the location and date of drilling in Block No. 9. Certainly, this date will be in year 2020. The consortium has, to date, adhered to the program of work and deadlines, and despite the current difficulties, drilling will begin in Block No. 4".
The director of Total Lebanon Ricardo Dari also spoke:
"Today we obtained a copy of the license to drill well No. 4, and we hope that this will not be our last license, so we will be able to conduct a long and intensive campaign, in Lebanon, to explore the resources we all want".
Afterwards, Nasr said:
"We briefed his Excellency on the necessary preparations for drilling the first well in Block 4., and the issuance of the drilling license is evidence of the completion of the Lebanese state, (in all its departments and ministries concerned), the necessary preparations for drilling the well with the required international standards, and the beginning of the exploration process. Geological and environmental studies have been completed, in addition to administrative and logistical preparations, to enable Total Company to drill the well at a depth of approximately 1500 meters from the sea surface. The depth of the well will reach 4200 meters, and completion of drilling requires a period of 55 to 60 days, in addition to a period of two months to analyze the results of drilling. And, God willing, the result will be positive, and we find oil and gas. But even if it is not positive, drilling the well itself is very important to give us new data to confirm the petroleum system in the Lebanese Sea, and to confirm geological data that allow us to more sound planning for drilling in other blocks, and to enable the Lebanese state to complete the issuance of the remaining licenses.
Industrialists Gathering of Beqaa"
Economically, President Aoun received a delegation from the Industrialists' Group in the Beqaa, headed by Nicolas Abu Faisal, in the presence of MP Salim Aoun.
The delegation informed President Aoun about the difficulties facing the industry sector, in general, and in the Beqaa in particular. Members of the delegation asked President Aoun to interfere with the "Central Bank" to issue the required circulars to the banks, with the need to inform the Lebanese industrialists of the right to conduct bank transfers and credits abroad due to the necessity of purchasing raw materials for industry in the US dollar according to the exchange rate approved in the "Central Bank", from their accounts in the Lebanese pound. This positively contributes to decreasing the prices of food and basic commodities, in the internal markets.
The President listened to the needs of the delegation promising to take the necessary measures to alleviate the suffering of industrialists in general, and in the Beqaa in particular.
A delegation of international institutions interested in investing:
Financially, President Aoun received a delegation of officials in international institutions interested in investing in Lebanese financial instruments, headed by Mrs. Alya Moubayed.
They briefed the President on the interest shown by members of the delegation to invest in Lebanese financial tools, and their desire to be informed about the current situation.
President Aoun explained the current economic and financial conditions in the country, stressing working to improve, these conditions, to overcome their negative repercussions.
The President pointed out that after the formation of the new government, a series of reforms will be adopted that will improve the situation, in addition to the continuing process of fighting corruption, smuggling and other necessary measures.
================Presidency Press Office