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Russia’s Novatek plans to exit an offshore upstream project in Lebanon where it has a nonoperating 20% stake, a source close to the project confirmed to Energy Intelligence. Novatek is quitting a TotalEnergies-led consortium to develop offshore Blocks 4 and 9 in the Mediterranean Sea. It has informed the Lebanese authorities and expects to complete the exit by Oct. 22, the source said. The consortium, which also includes Italy’s Eni, won a tender for the two blocks in late 2017. Lebanon’s energy ministry first said that the privately owned Russian gas and LNG producer would be withdrawing from the project due to economic and financial reasons as well as political risks. The ministry also said Total and Eni remained committed to extending the exploration period for the project. The consortium started drilling in Block 4 in 2020 but efforts came up dry. Drilling in Block 9 has been delayed because of a maritime border dispute between Lebanon and Israel. It is not clear whether international sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine played a role in Novatek’s withdrawal. Last week, Total quit a joint venture with Novatek developing the Termokarstovoye gas field in West Siberia, following accusations that condensate production from the field was aiding the Russian military.

Exploration, Corporate Strategy , Security Risk
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