The Lebanese Minister of Energy and Water (MOEW) will publish soon an updated strategic environmental assessment report pertaining to the upstream oil and gas sector in offshore Lebanon, following an initial report published in 2012. The preparation of the updated report will be based on the recommendation of the Lebanese Petroleum Administration (LPA) and on extensive consultation with the Lebanese Ministry of Environment (MoE) to be in line with new environmental regulations.
Although, the SEA is a work in progress and regular updates are needed as a result
of control and monitoring of impacts, assessment of new findings, inclusion of new regulations and formulation of improved recommendations and decisions, the first national trial was unsuccessful. The published SEA was partial, not in line with national regulations, and based on assumptions. Moreover, the process did not engage the general public. Therefore, in the context of the launching of the update process, a relevant quality control mechanism is needed for a more vigorous policy, environmental planning, and management of oil and gas activities.
The civil society/ general public including interested parties plays a major role in monitoring the SEA process, therefore a Quality Assurance Checklist is provided in this guidance report to help the civil community to monitor if the quality of SEA report is sufficient for decision making. Only a robust SEA process that includes extensive stakeholder consultations
would enable the Lebanese government to understand environmental constraints, possible impacts, formulate mitigation measures, collect and disseminate the suitable information to stakeholders, acknowledge existing gaps in national regulation, and impose new measures on petroleum firms.
The checklist has been prepared with the purpose of ensuring compliance with the broad objective of the Lebanese SEA Decree No. 8213/2012, issued by the MoE. The checklist will also facilitate compliance with obligations placed on petroleum companies by the Offshore Petroleum Resources Law (OPRL).