BEIRUT - Exploratory drilling for oil and gas in Lebanon's offshore Block 9 is set to begin on Aug. 24 after a landmark U.S.-brokered agreement last year set a maritime border between Lebanese and Israeli waters for the first time.
Energy minister Walid Fayad said on Tuesday it would be a "historic day" for the crisis-hit country.
The consortium drilling in Block 9 is led by France's TotalEnergies and includes Italian oil giant ENI and state-owned QatarEnergy.
Fayad said Lebanon would have the results of the exploratory drilling after 67 days and that the consortium had expressed interest in other offshore blocks around Block 9.
A statement by TotalEnergies said the consortium would be drilling one well in Block 9.
"This exploration well will allow us to assess the materiality of hydrocarbon resources and production potential in the area," said Romain de La Martinière, TotalEnergies' general manager in Lebanon.
Lebanon hopes gas and oil discoveries will help it to reverse a crippling economic crisis that has cost the local currency more than 98% of its value, eroded the country's foreign reserves and caused rolling blackouts across towns and cities.
(Reporting by Maya Gebeily and Nayera Abdallah Writing by Tala Ramadan Editing by David Goodman and David Evans)