Energean, the British energy company, has delivered a new floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) rig off the coast of Israel for use in Israel’s offshore natural gas field Karish. But the Lebanese government is complaining that the field encroaches on its territorial waters and the terrorist Hezbollah organization is threatening renewed attacks on Israel because of this.
According to Israel’s Kan 11 television news, the Israeli Navy has already deployed ships to defend the natural gas site from a possible Hezbollah attack.
The Lebanese government has already taken steps to find assistance for its claim over the area. The country said on Monday after the Energean platform arrived that it is asking the U.S. to step in and act as a mediator on the issue of its disputed maritime boundary with Israel.
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Lebanese caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati said that he had invited U.S. mediator Amos Hochstein to come to the region to review the possibility of “completing the negotiations to demarcate the southern maritime border and to work on concluding the issue as fast as possible to prevent any escalation that would not serve the state of stability in the region.”
Lebanese President Michel Aoun, however, took a less diplomatic tone on the matter. His office was quoted as saying that if Israel were to move forward with “any action or activity in the disputed area” any such move would be seen as “a provocation and a hostile act.”
Hezbollah echoed those sentiments and has long threatened to attack Israel in some way should it move ahead with its gas exploration in the area with the Energean rig.
Israel’s Energy Minister Karine Elharrar, however, dismissed Lebanon’s complaints and issued statements which did not express any concern over the possibility of hostile actions.
“We will continue to work to diversify the energy market and maintain stability and reliability,” she declared. “Israel is making preparations. I recommend that no one try to surprise Israel.”
In May, Energean, which specializes on the Eastern Mediterranean, revealed the discovery of 8 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas between its Karish and Tanin fields in its Athena exploration well off the coast of Israel.
According to Energean, the FPSO was transported by two tugs from Sembcorp Marine’s Admiralty Yard in Singapore to Israel. The 5,532 nautical mile-long journey took 35 days, crossing six seas and passing through the Suez Canal.
Energean stated it would immediately commence hook-up and commissioning operations, which include risers and jumpers installation as well as the commissioning of the sales gas pipeline. Energean expects approximately three-four months of commissioning before the first gas, which remains on track for Q3 this year.
Energean Power also said that this is the only FPSO in the eastern Mediterranean area and that the natural gas it will produce will bring both energy security and competition to the region, and also help to drive sustainable development.
“This marks a major step forward in delivering first gas from Karish, which remains on track for the third quarter of 2022. We look forward to continuing our progress through Karish first gas, the commercialization of the newly defined Olympus Area and contributing to energy security and competition of supply for the region,” said Energean CEO CEO Mathios Rigas.”