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East Med gas going nowhere

Lebanon’s first offshore well was dry, exploration off Cyprus is on hold—the region’s glitter is looking distinctly faded

The expectation was that 2020 would see an acceleration of offshore activity in the Eastern Mediterranean, with exploration and appraisal wells in Cypriot blocks and more drilling off Lebanon. But this was not to be, and the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on price and on the pockets of IOCs is mainly to blame. But there have been other setbacks too. French major Total (partnered by Italian explorer Eni and Russian independent Novatek) announced in late April that the Byblos-1 well in Block 4—Lebanon’s first exploration venture—was dry. There is scant hope of a second well, in Block 9, being drilled this year as planned. The negative news from Lebanon matches the gloom settling over the East

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