An Israeli offshore gas platform. File photo

An Israeli offshore gas platform

Lebanon Warns Israel Against Gas Production In Disputed Territorial Waters

6/5/2022

Tensions have risen between Israel and Lebanon after a natural gas production ship arrived off the coast in disputed waters to produce gas for Israel.

Lebanon warned Israel against any “aggressive action” when President Michel Aoun said any activity in the disputes area would amount to an act of aggression and a provocation.

Both countries are keen to develop considerable natural gas fields in the Mediterranean, but they have no diplomatic relations and Lebanese politics is dominated by Iran-backed militant Hezbollah group.

In 202 the United States tried to mediate between the two countries to reach a compromise over their maritime boundaries, but the indirect talks have not produce any results.

While Israel has more military and economic leverage to explore for gas, Lebanon’s military is no match, and it would not be easy for Beirut to secure participation by international investors. Lebanon desperately needs the potential income amid a catastrophic economic crisis since 2019.

There was no immediate response from Israel to Aoun's statement. Israeli Energy Minister Karine Elharrar welcomed the vessel's arrival and said she hoped it would be brought online quickly.

"We will continue to work to diversify the energy market and maintain stability and reliability," she said.

Gas production in eastern Mediterranean could potentially benefit Europe as it tries to replace Russian gas in the aftermath of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

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