Oil & Gas is not the solution to our debt, will not shield us from the devastative economic crisis, is not a political promise or gain, and should be managed effectively in order to be a game changer for the country.
In this context, and in an effort to shed the truth on the oil and gas sector in Lebanon, Kulluna Irada’s Managing Director, Ms. Hala Bejjani, and Director of Public Policies, Ms. Sibylle Rizk, joined an experts’ panel discussion on November 29, 2019.
Around 200 people gathered at “the Egg” theater in Beirut with lawyer Me Christina Abi Haidar, Ms. Laury Haytayan from the Natural Resource Governance Institute, Ms. Diana Kaissy from the Lebanese Oil and Gas Initiative (LOGI), and Mr. Ziad Samaha, environment expert from the International Union of Conservation of Nature to discuss the governance, environmental, legal, and fiscal aspects of this sector.
In her introductory remarks, Ms. Hala Bejjani stated that since October 17 and the beginning of the revolution, public interest was redirected towards economic issues of major importance, as citizens started to feel empowered, capable of change and eager to understand complex files. “Public debates between experts and citizens are a cornerstone to the accountability of parties in power, and essential to good governance & state building”, she added.
During her intervention, Ms. Diana Kaissy highlighted the importance of access to information law to monitor the management of this sector, such as law number 84/2018 for Enhancing Transparency in the Oil Sector, ratified in September 2018. “Article 10.7. requires all companies working in the oil and sector in Lebanon to disclose the identity of their owners”, she explained. “25 contracts are already signed; it is important to lobby to access them, and check the beneficiary ownership of each making sure they were not obtained through political influence”, she urged.
For her part, Ms. Sibylle Rizk warned about the resource curse and stressed on the importance of reforms.
“It will take up to at least 7 years to start making profit of the oil and gas sector, if we find commercial quantities, however, today we are in dire need of imminent reforms to manage our crisis”, she stated. “Instead of worrying about oil and gas, we should canalize all our efforts in order to find solutions to our financial crisis”, she ended.
The discussion was concluded with a Q&A session.
To watch the livestream of the panel discussion.