January 2017 was a turning point for Lebanon’s oil and gas sector. The approval of decrees 42 and 43 by Cabinet moves forward the government’s plan to explore for the natural resources. The Lebanese Petroleum Administration (LPA) has taken one step further by publishing copies of the decrees on their website giving access to the public. Even though this is the minimum to be expected from the LPA, LOGI and civil society welcome this gesture as a step in the right direction toward establishing a sustainable and transparent sector.
What is Decree 42?
Decree number 42/2017, divides Lebanon's exclusive economic zone into 10 blocks. The Minister of Energy and Water, Cesar Abi Khalil, declared five blocks (1, 4, 8, 9 and 10) will be available for bidding in Lebanon's first offshore licensing round with exploration licenses expected to be announced in November 2017.
What about 43?
Decree number 43/2017, includes two vital documents the Tender Protocol (TP) and the Exploration and Production Agreement (EPA). The TP is in Annex 1 of the EPA; it outlines the bidding process and the evaluation criteria for selecting the consortium to allocate the license. The EPA is a contract between the State and the selected group of investors. The agreement provides the consortium with the right to explore, develop and produce oil and gas from offshore Lebanon in accordance with Offshore Petroleum Resource Law (OPRL), Petroleum Activities Regulation (PAR), and other Lebanese Laws.