BEIRUT, March 7 (Xinhua) -- Walid Nasr, head of the Lebanese Petroleum Administration, said Lebanon will start in 2020 oil and gas exploration in Block 9 of its territorial waters regardless of the negotiations with Israel about border demarcation, local media reported on Saturday.
"We will prepare for oil and gas exploration in Block 9 this year and we will be drilling at a distance from the borders with Israel," Nasr said in an interview with Elnashra, an online independent newspaper.
Nasr said that it is currently hard to assess if Lebanon has a wealth of oil and gas and companies may not find any resources in the well that's currently being drilled by Total in Block 4.
"Sometimes we need to drill five wells to find oil and gas," Nasr explained.
He noted that Lebanon could not start benefitting from revenues of this sector soon as it needs years to build necessary infrastructure.
In February 2018, Lebanon signed its first offshore oil and gas exploration and production contracts for two energy blocks with a consortium of France's Total, Italy's Eni and Russia's Novatek.
In April 2019, former Lebanese energy minister Nada Boustani announced the launch of Lebanon's second licensing round for offshore oil and gas exploration in five other blocks.
Lebanon hopes to give a big boost to its economy through offshore energy discovery.