Specific laws and regulations for the offshore petroleum sector are in vigour. The Offshore Petroleum Resources Law (OPRL), the Law for the Tax Provisions Related to Petroleum Activities, the Enhancing Transparency in the Petroleum Sector Law, the Petroleum Activities Regulations (PAR), the Tender Protocol and the Model Exploration and Production Agreement (EPA) together form a comprehensive regulatory framework that govern the upstream petroleum industry in Lebanon. Click here to access more information about the laws and regulations related to the upstream petroleum sector in Lebanon.
In order to enhance good governance and transparency, the law attributes specific and different, yet complementary roles and responsibilities to the Parliament, the Council of Ministers, line ministries, the Minister of Energy and Water and to the Lebanese Petroleum Administration (LPA) in a multi-layered governance framework. Decision making is also limited by a timespan across the value chain of petroleum activities development. Additionally, citizens, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academic and technical institutions and the private sector are important players in the oil and gas industry responsible for holding decision makers accountable.
The LPA is an independent technical, regulatory and advisory public entity in charge of managing the petroleum sector in Lebanon within the supervisory authority of the Minister of Energy and Water. The principal objective of the LPA is to contribute to creating the greatest possible value for the economy and the society resulting from the activities undertaken in the oil and gas industry, while protecting the environment. This is performed through prudent resource management and through strategic, economic and financial, technical, geological and environmental plans. The LPA exerts all the necessary efforts to ensure a successful, transparent and sustainable development process in all stages of petroleum activities to promote continuous interest in Lebanon’s offshore hydrocarbon potential. The LPA abides by a participatory approach with other governmental bodies, international organizations, academia and civil society. Click here for more information on the LPA’s specific roles within each department.
The Minister of Energy and Water reports to the Council of Ministers, ensures the implementation of policies and laws, endeavours to enhance the State petroleum capabilities, and monitors and supervises petroleum activities.
In particular, and together with the Council of Ministers and the LPA, the Minister of Energy and Water has specific responsibilities during the licensing, exploration and production, development and production and decommissioning phases. For example during the licensing phase the Minister of Energy and Water is responsible to sign the EPA upon authorization of the Council of Ministers and during the exploration and production phase the Minister of Energy and Water approves the Exploration Plan and issues drilling and production permits. The Minister also approves plans such as the Gas Infrastructure and Marketing Plan and the Decommissioning Plan. The Minister's decisions are shaped by the LPA’s technical advice and recommendations.
The CoM is the executive authority that approves decrees related to petroleum activities. The CoM sets forth the State’s petroleum policy and makes final decisions in relation to conflicting opinions. The CoM takes the final decision regarding licensing rounds specifications; authorizes the Minister of Energy and Water to sign the EPA on behalf of the Lebanese State with the consortium; appoints the LPA’s board of directors; approves the Development and Production Plan, and decides on extending the duration of the exploration and/or production period after consulting with the LPA, among other responsibilities.
The Parliament is the legislative authority responsible for the approval of laws. The Parliament exercises a constitutional control over the Council of Ministers and the Minister of Energy and Water, which is put into action through questions, interrogations, vote of confidence and parliamentary enquiries. Parliamentary committees such the committee for Public Works, Transportation, Energy and Water reviews and proposes laws in relation to the sector and actively engages with the LPA in sessions to sharpen their knowledge about the sector and keep pace with its development. The Parliament also receives as per the laws in vigour periodical reports from the LPA and the Minister of Energy and Water about the developments of the sector.
CSOs are responsible for overseeing the oil and gas sector, for holding decision makers accountable, and for ensuring that the legislative framework is implemented in a transparent manner. CSOs play a major role in advocating for the sector to move forward and for contributing to consultative processes. CSOs are also responsible for disseminating information related to the petroleum sector in order to increase the general public awareness and engage in public discussions and debates, while managing expectations.
Lebanon has a modern, clear and stable legislative framework, which allows Lebanese citizens to actively take part in the oversight of petroleum activities early on in an informed and constructive manner. Most recently, the Law on Enhancing Transparency in the Oil and Gas Sector has been approved and includes all provisions in relation to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) including provisions in relation to the petroleum register and beneficial ownership, politically exposed people and requirements on publication and disclosure. The system promotes transparency through different channels, namely an open and competitive licensing procedure, fixed contract terms and quantitative assessment of applications, clear accounting and financial procedures, regulations on health, safety and the environment to name a few. Additional measures to promote transparency have been incorporated in the legislative framework so to align it with international standards. Click here to know more about the transparency measures implemented in the upstream petroleum sector and to check the latest disclosures and publications.