The Kataeb party released a statement on 12/11 [Link in Arabic], following the weekly meeting of its political bureau, and called for the adoption of the highest standards of transparency in the management of the oil and gas sector, and particularly during the licensing process, to avoid shady deals, and added that the party will, for the moment, overlook the circumstances that accompanied the appointment of the Petroleum Administration’s board.
The head of the Union of Petroleum Workers and Employees, Maroun Khawli, called for a revision [Link in Arabic] of the name, structure and functions of the Petroleum Administration and considered that, the regulatory body, in its current form, will not be able to carry out its duties. Khawli lamented its limited advisory role and independence.
Civil society organizations play an increasingly important oversight role over petroleum activities, including in developing countries. They have managed to introduce minimum standards for transparency and accountability, with different degrees of success from one country to another. In Lebanon, civil society is robust enough and is expected to be engaged in monitoring the nascent oil and gas sector, for various reasons, transparency and accountability being one of them of course, but so is ensuring a share or some kind of a role for those that were left behind.
The massive amount of revenues that is expected to be generated with the establishment of the oil and gas sector, even before the start of production, have attracted all sort of attention. It is safe to assume that those who are in office have guaranteed a stake in the sector. It is also safe to assume that some of those who are not will do what they can in order not to be left behind, including monitoring the sector in the name of transparency and accountability.