WFD is implementing a three-year programme (2015-2018) with the Lebanese Parliament to respond to important policy issues.
Working with the Committee on Public Works, Energy, Water and Transport, and the Research and Information Department, the programme provides technical advice on the management of the oil and gas industry.
In August 2010, a new petroleum policy and subsequent law was developed in response to speculation about Lebanon’s offshore oil and gas potential. The appointment of the Board of the Petroleum Administration in November 2012 and the launch of the first ever offshore licensing round in February 2013 opened a new chapter for the Lebanese economy. As investors have responded positively, Lebanon now seems to be on the right track to become a real player in the Middle Eastern oil and gas industry, but the oil and gas exploration and production journey is paved with risks and challenges.
Effective parliamentary review of the extractive industry is important to ensure transparency and accountability in the governance of Lebanon’s natural resources. From reviewing how the resources are monetised to ensuring the process benefits citizen and the economy is essential.
WFD provides technical advice and access to international expertise on best practice, including compliance with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative – the global standard for governance of oil, gas and mineral resources. Applying these standards to national legislation is a central element of WFD support to the Committee.
The use of public hearings and consultations by the Committee is an important area where WFD is assisting. MPs need a range of information and analysis to inform their decisions. The support from WFD will provide information and expertise to MPs who are seeking to ensure transparent and sound management of the energy sector.
Improving the skills of the research service in the Parliament to provide expertise on Oil and Gas policies for MPs is another important area of the programme. Training and technical support on a range of issues relating to oil and gas governance will be provided. The programme will also develop a short guide on management of the oil and gas sector for parliamentarians and parliamentary staff.
Building on the successful partnership with the parliament of the Isle of Man (Tynwald) – which led to a drastic reduction in the time it takes for Parliament of Sierra Leone to publish transcripts of sittings – WFD is now working to improve the capabilities of the research department to support legislators produce better laws.
Results and Activities
The quality of debate in Parliament improved: A team of experts provided expert analysis on various bills under parliamentary consideration (Oil & gas taxation law; Transparency of Oil & Gas sector).
On 18 September 2017, the Lebanese Parliament passed the Oil & Gas Tax bill, completing the Petroleum Legal Framework allowing foreign companies to bid for offshore oil and gas exploration in Lebanon territorial water.
WFD supported the Public Work and Energy Parliamentary Committee in the review of the draft Oil & Gas taxation bill including a recommendation on ring-fencing that was included in the final bill.
Following the workshop organised by WFD entitled: ‘Introduction to Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) the Public works, energy, water and transport committee has issued a recommendation to the government to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which was done in January 2017.
Strengthening the Parliament of Lebanon
Planned end: March 2018