The Oil for Development programme in Lebanon

The petroleum sector in Lebanon is at an early phase of implementation, while the existence and size of recoverable reserves remains unclear. Lebanon and Norway has cooperated within the OfD Programme since 2006.


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 initiated a pre-qualification round for its first offshore licensing round in February 2013, and forty-six companies from twenty-three countries were successful. Consequently, the licensing round was launched in May 2013, however its completion is still pending due to the lack of two governmental approvals.

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 (2006-2012) focused on the development of a legal framework and the basis for the establishment of Lebanese Petroleum Administration (LPA), in addition to general capacity building in petroleum resource management. Combined with selected technical assistance activities, the planning for a second phase of the cooperation resulted in the signing of a new three-year cooperation agreement in January 2015.

Key achievements 2015

Legal and regulatory framework

  • The draft petroleum taxation law was revised to be better aligned with the model Exploration and Production Agreement. The International Monetary Fund contributed to the authorities’ work.

  • As part of developing national plans for the petroleum sector, exploration and production scenarios were completed, including analysis of technology and development solutions, market considerations, transport and processing alternatives. The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate has supported its partner closely in the process, contributing also to methodological capacity development. 

Institutional capacity

  • Key personnel in the Ministry of Finance and the Lebanese Petroleum Administration developed competencies in accounting and auditing mechanisms as well as international best practices in how to manage the expected revenues in the petroleum sector.

  • The Lebanese Petroleum Administration improved their understanding and skills related to local value creation through local content policies and plans, and trade and regulatory frameworks.

  • Key personnel from several relevant authorities participated in an oil spill emergency response exercise conducted in Norway. This led to a better understanding of the importance of coordination among governmental institutions and resulted in a higher quality draft for a National Oil Spill Contingency Plan in Lebanon. 

  • Key personnel from several relevant authorities improved their knowledge on strategic environmental assessment (SEA) and project-specific environmental impact assessment (EIA) in the petroleum sector.

  • 2D seismic data collected in 1993 and stored on 194 outdated magnetic tapes and associated cartridges were transcribed to modern standard, allowing for new analysis and insights on the geology and prospects for petroleum resources.

Transparency and accountability

  • The ability of the members of the press to hold the government accountable was improved through training sessions organized by the Samir Kassir Foundation.

  • The Samir Kassir Foundation developed and released a mobile application, Log & Learn, allowing for fact-checking and information sharing with civil society, media and the public at large.

  • 15 Lebanese civil society organizations increased their understanding of accountability and transparency issues and how to influence decision-making in the petroleum sector, through training organized by the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies and the Natural Resource Governance Institute.
Published 02.07.2014
Last updated 25.05.2016