Lebanon’s Block 9 will be the site of TotalEnergies’ first drilling in 2023.

On Monday, TotalEnergies confirmed that drilling operations have been mobilized for its new offshore gas project in Lebanon.

The firm has also requested bids for a new drilling rig in preparation for the project. The environmental impact studies will be finished by the end of the second quarter of next year.

Last month, TotalEnergies announced it would start exploration activities in Block 9, which is located in Lebanon’s territorial waters after a maritime border agreement between Lebanon and Israel was signed. Eni owns 40% of Block 9, while TotalEnergies owns the other 60%.

TotalEnergies’ Chairman and CEO Patrick Pouyanné reportedly met with Lebanon’s Minister of Energy Walid Fayed to discuss the initiative.

The CEO confirmed that “drilling teams on Block 9” have already been mobilized. LPA, a neutral organization that controls Lebanon’s upstream petroleum sector, is cooperating with the teams to prepare the well.

More than 10 people have been involved in preparing the well so far, in addition to the operation manager,” the statement said.

“The tender process for the rig has been launched, and the rig is expected to be selected in the first quarter of 2023. Pre-orders have also been placed with suppliers for the equipment needed for the well.”