The Oil for Development program signed by Lebanon and Norway for another three years, will significantly aid the country’s civil society towards a transparent and sustainable petroleum management program.
Renewing this mutual commitments toward a sustainable future for Lebanon was Lebanon’s Minister of Water and Energy Cesar Abi Khalil, Minister of Foreign Affairs Gebran Bassil, and Lene Natasha Lind, Norway’s ambassador to Lebanon.
The Oil for Development program dates back to 2006.
The results achieved under this relatively small timeframe are impressive, said Lind. She went on to add, Lebanon has framed a comprehensive legal framework for this collaboration, it has established a competent petroleum authority and has demonstrated a commitment towards transparency and good governance in the petroleum sector.
Its most notable recent achievement is that under the Oil for Development program it has recently published the Exploration and Production contracts on the LPA website.
This landmark achievement has been possible since the collaboration has been based on an institutional collaboration between both country’s public sector enterprises with the aim to promote transparent and good governance in the petroleum sector. So as to achieve the targets, civil servants from both countries have worked side by side on a wide variety of issues ranging from environment management, resources, safety factors and revenue generation with a constant view on maintaining transparency and accountability.
Incidentally, the Oil for Development program covers upstream governance and avoids involvement with commercial and border issues.
Following the signing ceremony, His Excellency Abi Khalil and Ambassador Lind expressed optimism and words of caution for the future development of this sector. She highlighted the fact that future governance must be based on careful analysis of the facts, as well as a transparent inclusive decision-making processes. These important factors will have to be given their place so as to not lay waste to the impressive achievements that Lebanon has achieved so far.
The Oil for Development program, is not a cut out or an export of the Norwegian model on how to manage the petroleum resources. This collaboration presents an opportunity for Lebanon to gain a precious opportunity, an incite or a window into Norway’s experiences and hard earned lessons that goes back nearly 50 years as an oil and gas producing nation.
Lebanon will have to make its own decisions to ensure a predictable, prudent and transparent management of its petroleum resources.