On September 07, 2017, the Lebanese Minister of Energy and Water, Cesar Abi Khalil, announced the extension of the first offshore oil and gas bidding round from September 15th to October 12th, 2017.
The Lebanese Oil and Gas Initiative (LOGI) would like to address the following questions and comments to Minister Abi Khalil:
Clarify reasoning behind extension: Minister Abi Khalil stated during his press conference that the decision to postpone the first bidding round deadline was based on a recommendation received from the Lebanese Petroleum Administration. We would like clarifications on the underlying reasons and basis for this recommendation.
Is the extension related to the passing of the petroleum taxation law? Since the petroleum taxation law has not been passed yet, is the Ministry of Energy postponing the bid round until the law is passed by parliament? If so, then what happens if the law is not passed by October 12th? Will there be another extension?
What signal are we sending oil companies and investors? Will this delay send a negative signal to international oil companies andinvestors? Especially for those who are not assured about the slow and inconsistent pace of policy making in our oil and gas sector?
This is an opportunity to make the taxation law debate public, and consult civil society: The draft petroleum taxation law was never made public and the Parliament has not held a public debate about it until now. Even if it is adopted by October 12th, the Lebanese will have been deprived of a public debate around a key policy issue. When will the government adopt a policy of public consultation as a routine procedure for every legislative and regulatory texts in the oil and gas sector?
LOGI believes that good governance starts with proper accountability and this needs to begin with decreasing ambiguity around impediments and sources of delays. Decisions, while remaining in the hands of the few, need to be explained and more importantly justified.
LOGI and the wider public are waiting for the Minister’s response to the above questions.
About the Lebanese Oil and Gas Initiative (LOGI)
Registration number 13555 26/8/2014 decree number 11217 15/2/2014
LOGI is an independent non-profit based in Beirut. LOGI's mission is to help Lebanon maximize the economic and social benefits of its oil and gas wealth – and avoid the resource curse. You can learn more at: www.logi-lebanon.org
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