BEIRUT: Lebanon has no proven oil and gas reserves, despite a spate of articles, reports and ministerial claims to the contrary. There’s a good indication that there are off-shore oil and gas reserves in Lebanese waters, but at this stage it remains just that, an indication. Such misinformation worries NGOs and activists involved with the issue. Indeed, many believe that if it continues as the country develops legislation regulating the sector, many things could go wrong down the line. Some fear the potential resource could become a curse, rather than a windfall.
In 2014, the Samir Kassir Foundation’s Center for Media and Cultural Freedom (SKEyes) released a report monitoring coverage of oil and gas in the Lebanese media. It found that in 122 stories about the sector published between Feb. 1 and April 15, 2014, there were mistakes in around half of them, and many relied on a single source.