Lebanon on Friday signed its first oil and gas exploration deal with an international consortium made up of France's Total, Italy's Eni and Russia's Novatek.
The signing ceremony was attended by President Michel Aoun.
The agreement covers blocks 4 and 9 as the Total-led consortium said that it is fully aware of the Israeli-Lebanese dispute in the southern part that covers only a very limited area of block 9.
The drilling is set to begin in 2019, the consortium announced.
The first well will be drilled in Block 4 in 2019, said Stephane Michel, Total's president for exploration and production in the Middle East and North Africa.
The second well will be drilled in Block 9 more than 25 km from the border, he said at the ceremony. "There is no reason not to proceed in this way," Michel added.