8 Sep 2022 09:38

Novatek to exit projects in Lebanon, Montenegro

VLADIVOSTOK. Sept 8 (Interfax) - Novatek plans to exit projects in Lebanon and Montenegro, the Russian gas producer's CEO, Leonid Mikhelson told reporters.

"We're slowly planning, and the question of an exit is not for us, but for the governments of these countries," he said.

Lebanon's National News Agency reported earlier that Novatek Lebanon SAL, which holds stakes of 20% in Blocks 4 and 9 in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea, had notified the Lebanese authorities of its intention to exit the projects at the end of the first period of exploration, by October 22.

Novatek became a stakeholder in these licenses following a tender in 2017 as part of a consortium with TotalEnergies (the operator) and Italy's Eni, which each hold 40%.

In 2021, the 50/50 consortium of Eni and Novatek began drilling off the coast of Montenegro. Vantage Drilling International's Topaz-Driller rig began drilling a well at Block 5, 27 km off the coast, where the water depth is 100 meters. Eni said the work would take four to five months.

The consortium signed a concession agreement on exploration for and production of hydrocarbons at four offshore blocks (4, 5, 9 and 10) with Montenegro's government in September 2016.