Skip to main content

Qatar's energy giant joins Lebanon gas exploration group

France’s TotalEnergies, which is also part of the consortium, said they hope to start drilling in Lebanese waters for oil and gas in 2023.
Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, Emir of Qatar, departs after meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the Chancellery on May 20, 2022 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

QatarEnergy, Qatar's state-owned oil and gas company, will participate in oil and gas exploration off the coast of Lebanon, Reuters reported on Thursday. 

The company will join France’s TotalEnergies and Italy’s Eni in exploring two offshore blocks. QatarEnergy will have a 30% stake in the enterprise, while TotalEnergies and Eni will each have 35%. The arrangement had been in talks since October, according to Reuters. 

In November, Israel approved QatarEnergy’s participation in the plans. 

What it means: Israel has been pumping natural gas from the eastern Mediterranean Sea for years. However, Lebanon claimed part of Israel’s exploration area as its own maritime territory. Following US-brokered negotiations, Israel and Lebanon reached an agreement on the border last October. 

Lebanon immediately told TotalEnergies to start gas exploration after the deal. Eni later joined TotalEnergies in the consortium. 

Last month, TotalEnergies and Eni released a rough timeline of their Lebanese gas exploration plans. The two firms said they hope to begin drilling in 2023. 

Why it matters: The Lebanese economic crisis is showing no signs of dissipating and has been marked by fuel and electricity shortages since it began in 2019. Lebanon securing its own natural gas supply could help alleviate people’s suffering. 

Still, it will take years for Lebanon to start pumping gas. Corruption and governance issues could also plague the energy exploration efforts. 

QatarEnergy’s participation in the consortium also demonstrates Qatar’s continued interest in helping Lebanon. Last year, Qatar gave $60 million to the Lebanese army. The army is chronically short on cash. 

Qatari officials have repeatedly talked about their commitment to oil and gas as the world seeks to transition to renewable energy. At the World Economic Forum earlier this month, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said developing countries must be able to “develop their own resources” and criticized what he called the “unattainable goals” of the energy transition. 

Know more: Israel is expected to increase its natural gas drilling this year, Danny Zaken reported for Al-Monitor last month. 

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Already a Member? Sign in


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial
What's included:
Our Expertise

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

Already a Member? Sign in