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14 March 2016

As part of the LPA’s participatory approach with stakeholders involved in the oil and gas sector, the Chairman of the LPA – Mr. Wissam Zahabi, and the Head of the Strategic Planning Department – Mr. Walid Nasr, took active participation in a round table organized by the Lebanese Center for Civic Education on the 14th of March, 2016.

The round table discussion fell under the Lebanese Center Civic Education’s broader programme entitled “Participate and Change” and tackled issues related to the LPA’s institutional framework, the political deadlock which is delaying the first licensing round, transparency mechanisms put in place to safeguard against corruption risks in the licensing process.

In this context, Mr. Wissam Zahabi emphasized that the LPA is exerting all the necessary efforts to successfully develop the prospective Lebanese oil and gas sector in such a way to benefit current and future generations. Additionally, Zahabi described the roles of the LPA in managing the petroleum sector. In turn, Mr. Walid Nasr, mapped out the legal and institutional frameworks governing the oil and gas sector in Lebanon and stressed on the fact that de-risking the offshore through the interpretation of seismic data represents a major asset for Lebanon, which should be leveraged upon.

Furthermore, Zahabi and Nasr spoke about resource management mechanisms and more specifically about the importance of establishing a sovereign wealth fund, whose characteristics remain to be defined. Also, the speakers presented the transparency measures put in place to curb the risks of corruption which could occur in subcontracting and procurement processes.

Finally, Nasr emphasized on the significance of collaborating with civil society organizations as it contributes to improving the petroleum sector related knowledge and it corrects misconceptions should they happen to exist. Additionally, the participatory approach with stakeholders helps in improving the advocacy for the nascent petroleum sector through a more accurately informed society, as a result this will pave the way for the development of a stronger oil and gas sector.

To conclude, several recommendations stemmed from the round table discussion, namely promoting accountability and transparency measures throughout the petroleum activities value chain. Participants expressed their willingness to benefit from the prospective sector in an educated manner in order to sustainably contribute to economic and social development in Lebanon.

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