Israel voiced openness on May 27 to U.S.-mediated talks with Lebanon on resolving a dispute over the neighbors’ maritime border that has dogged Mediterranean oil and gas exploration.
Such talks, Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz’s office said in a statement after he met U.S. envoy David Satterfield, could be “for the good of both countries’ interests in developing natural gas reserves and oil” by agreeing a border.
There was no immediate comment from Lebanese or U.S. officials.
Technically at war since Israel’s founding in 1948, Israeli and Lebanon have long disagreed on border demarcations, a dispute affecting a sea area of about 860 sq km (330 sq miles) extending along the edge of three of Lebanon’s southern energy blocks.
Waters in one of those blocks are also claimed by Israel, which kicked off a gas bonanza in the eastern Mediterranean almost a decade ago with the discovery of two huge gas fields.
The dispute has led to years of brinkmanship with both sides promising to protect their resources and warning about encroachment.
Oil production from fields in federal waters of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico is forecast to hit an average of 1.9 million barrels per day this year.
Brazilian state-run oil firm Petrobras has signed letters of intent with Japan’s Modec Inc. and Malaysia’s Yinson Holdings Bhd for charter contracts for FPSOs, the company said Oct. 15.
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