The Oil for Development programme in Lebanon
In December 2017, Lebanon approved the awarding of two exclusive petroleum licences for exploration and production in blocks 4 and 9. On 17 May 2018, the Council of Ministers approved the recommendation of the LPA to prepare for Lebanon’s Second Offshore Licensing Round.
OfD support to Lebanon started in 2006. The second phase of the programme began in January 2015 and the third phase commenced with the signing of new agreements in 2018. The third phase of the programme has been designed around fit-for-purpose activities that meet the needs of the operational phase.
Key achievements of programme activities
- The Lebanese Petroleum Administration (LPA) drafted drilling guidelines with the support of the OfD programme through the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA). These technical guidelines are instrumental to this phase of development of the sector in Lebanon as they define the approach that the LPA will adopt in enforcing the regulatory provisions.
- The Ministry of Environment (MoE) with the participation of the LPA benefited from the support of the Norwegian Environmental Agency (NEA) in the preparation of draft versions of the EIA guidelines for the reconnaissance and exploration phase. These guidelines are critical for the sound environmental management of the sector.
- With the support of the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) and the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE), the LPA produced a comprehensive study about the various state equity participation options to consider for the second licensing round in Lebanon.
- The LPA enhanced their competence in issues such as well control, drilling and well integrity. This resulted in success for all the LPA participants that undertook International Well Control Forum (IWCF) courses levels.
- MOE and LPA staff enhanced their competence in reviewing Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) through a training programme in Beirut.
Increased transparency and accountability
- In an important milestone for transparency, the LPA posted the signed EPAs on their website.
- After more than a year of networking and coordination facilitated by Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) the Lebanese Coalition for Good Governance in Extractive Industries (LOGI), which is the first network to influence petroleum policies, was launched in March 2018. The Coalition and its members have been active in communicating with the LPA and decision makers regarding the various legal frameworks being discussed, as well as the involvement of civil society in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) multi-stakeholder group.
- More work is needed to find a good model for broad mobilisation and civil society involvement in oil and gas issues, in particular regarding cooperation and participation with responsible authorities around a joint framework.