UPHOLDING GOOD GOVERNANCE AND TRANSPARENCY
The LPA emphasises on an integrated, participative and inclusive governance approach with respect to the nascent petroleum sector so to ensure an informed public debate and to safeguard the sustainability of the prospective petroleum sector over the long run. Transparency and good governance are not stand-alone concepts, but rather principles designed to manage the sector in a cohesive manner across the value chain of petroleum activities.
First, Lebanon’s oil and gas regulatory framework is composed of well established, published, modern, stable and predictable policies, laws and regulations that create a conducive environment for petroleum activities and investments based on best practices which are pragmatically tailored to Lebanon’s characteristics.
The legislative framework addresses all aspects of the petroleum activities value chain from the pre-qualification process early on until the decommissioning phase. Additionally the legislative framework clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders in the management and decision making processes of the sector.
Additional measures are accounted for to safeguard transparency and align it with international standards. For instance, in addition to locally applicable laws, the principles described in several international conventions also apply to affiliated companies, agents, representatives, subcontractors or consultants in Lebanon.
Second, the licensing procedure is designed in such a way to promote competitiveness among bidders starting from the pre-qualification process, which is based on stringent technical, financial and legal criteria given that the oil and gas industry, especially operations in the deep offshore, require exceptionally high expertise. The model contract – the Exploration and Production Agreement (EPA) – and the Tender Protocol (TP) are published and their provisions are fixed and non-negotiable. Furthermore, the biddable parameters are defined in the TP; and the evaluation abides by a quantitative assessment of the technical and commercial criteria.
Most recently, additional measures have been initiated or are in the process of approval to further support the efforts of the Lebanese Government to promote transparency. These measures, include the recent approval of the Right of Access to Information Law, and the announcement of the Council of Ministers’ intention to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).
Furthermore, as Lebanese citizens, civil society organizations, the media and academia are major stakeholders responsible of promoting awareness, monitoring transparent practices and holding accountable politicians and decision makers, the LPA has been abiding by a participative approach so to ensure that stakeholders are well-informed about the sector and equipped with the objective and technical knowledge that will allow a constructive debate to take place nation-wide.
In this regard, strengthening transparency and promoting cooperation is also achieved through the establishment of regular conferences, round tables and training programmes that aim at creating a platform for an engaged, informed and fact-based public discourse.
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