Israel begins experimental pumping from Karish gas field, talks with Lebanon on maritime border demarcation ongoing

Lebanon — On Saturday, Energean Energy announced the start of the experimental reverse pumping between Israeli territory and the offshore Karish gas field in the eastern Mediterranean in a disputed area between Tel Aviv and Beirut covering an area of 860 square kilometers.

The company said that “after obtaining approval from the Israeli Ministry of Energy to start conducting certain tests, gas has started to flow” to the Karish floating production storage offloading platform, located about 80 kilometers west of Haifa.

According to Energean, the tests, which take several weeks, are an “important step” towards extracting gas from the Karish field.

Senior Israeli sources were quoted as saying that Israel informed Lebanon, through US Senior Advisor for Energy Security Amos Hochstein, that pumping gas is an important part of the platform’s operation and does not constitute the beginning of gas extraction.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz had said that his country would move forward with the extraction plans, even if an agreement was not reached, warning Hezbollah that any attack would face a firm response.

Lebanese political circles said that the operation carried out by Israel is from the land towards the sea, and falls within the framework of the final experiments, and not the extraction of oil, according to the information communicated to them by US officials. They stressed at the same time that the contacts regarding the demarcation of the border and the recent American proposal have not stopped and discussions with Israel are ongoing and may move to the official framework in the next stage.