The Oil for Development programme in Lebanon

The petroleum sector in Lebanon is in an early phase of implementation, and the existence and size of recoverable reserves remain unclear.

The petroleum sector in Lebanon is at an early stage; there are currently no exploration or production activities. However, new seismic data have been acquired the last years and indicate potential for petroleum resources both onshore and offshore.

Lebanon has invited oil- and gas companies to pre-qualify for its first offshore licensing round which is planned completed by year-end 2017. Five out of ten offshore blocks are included in the first licensing round. More than 50 companies have been pre-qualified to submit bids within the 15 September 2017 deadline.

The majority of the petroleum regulatory framework in Lebanon is in place, including among others a Petroleum Policy, Offshore Petroleum Resources Law as well as Petroleum Activities Regulations.

However, there are still needs for a range of specific regulations and guidelines to complete the legal framework. Furthermore, the competence and capacity of relevant government institutions must be strengthened to enable them to implement their roles and responsibilities in the sector.

The first phase of the OfD programme in Lebanon started in 2006 and focused on the development of a legal framework for petroleum activities and establishment of the Lebanese Petroleum Administration (LPA) as an independent regulator. The second phase of the OfD program began in 2015 and has contributed to further capacity development within the LPA and other relevant authorities and stakeholders.

Key achievements 2016

Enhanced legal and regulatory framework:

  • A complete licensing strategy for the first offshore licensing round was drafted by the Lebanese Petroleum Administration (LPA). The LPA also initiated the development of a waste management strategy and of environmental monitoring guidelines.

  • A system for emergency preparedness and response was established, including the adoption and launching of a National Oil Spill Contingency Plan.

  • The Ministry of Finance and the LPA began drafting a Sovereign Wealth Fund Law for Lebanon.

Increased institutional capacity:

  • Representatives from the LPA, the Ministry of Environment and other key government stakeholders increased their knowledge of exploration drilling, emergency preparedness, and auditing of environmental management systems through participation in certified courses in Norway and Lebanon.

  • The LPA gained an improved understanding of how to develop local products and services, in particular options and challenges related to supply bases for offshore operations, through shared experiences with experts from Norway, Ghana and Uganda, including field visits in these countries.

Increased transparency and accountability:

  • The LPA established a communication strategy and completed a draft of a Petroleum Register Decree. This was done in an effort to strengthen the transparency of the sector.

  • Representatives from Lebanese civil society organizations and media outlets improved their understanding of petroleum sector governance by participating in several joint workshops with the LPA and Norwegian experts.
  • Norwegian People’s Aid, a civil society organization, initiated a mapping of the Lebanese labour movement to assess its need for capacity building of petroleum sector governance issues.
Published 02.07.2014
Last updated 05.10.2017