BEIRUT, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- Lebanese President Michel Aoun vowed on Wednesday to protect Lebanon's oil and gas wealth in its territories, according to a statement by the presidency.
"We will protect this wealth with all our strength and power and we will never give up on it. We will defend every inch of our lands and territorial waters which hold our oil and gas wealth," Aoun said during his national address on the eve of the drilling of the country's first hydrocarbon well.
"This is a sovereign wealth where there will be not corruption involved or dominance by any political party," he added.
The president also highlighted the drilling as a critical step to turn Lebanon into a productive economy capable of creating job opportunities for the Lebanese youths.
"We are going through the hardest economic crisis in Lebanon's history. Today, we insist on assuming our full responsibilities to correct the accumulation of mistakes and failed policies adopted in the past years which led to our current situation," Aoun said.
The Lebanese Energy Ministry announced earlier this week that the drilling work in Block 4 will start on Thursday.
It will take two months to drill the first well and another two months to analyze the results, the Lebanese oil administration said Wednesday.
In December 2019, former Energy Minister Nada Boustani granted France's Total the license to drill Lebanon's first well in Block 4 in the country's water territories.
In April 2019, Boustani announced the launch of Lebanon's second licensing round for offshore oil and gas exploration in five blocks.
In February 2018, Lebanon signed its first offshore oil and gas exploration and production contracts for two energy blocks with a consortium of Total, Italy's Eni and Russia's Novatek.
Lebanon hopes to give a big boost to its economy through offshore energy discovery.