Lebanon: too much talk about transparency, few raised eyebrows

Lebanon ranked 136th in the 2014 Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. A general look at the country’s governance patterns would justify a certain suspicion on how public affairs are managed in Lebanon. Over the past few years, not enough was done to convince us the oil and gas sector, if it ever sees the light, would enjoy a better fate.

Given the nature of links between the business and political spheres in Lebanon, it does not come as a surprise that roughly all local “oil & gas” companies that have emerged in the past few years have close links with influential members of the political class. This includes companies that have pre-qualified for the first licensing round, like Petroleb, Apex Gas, and also service companies such as Petroserv.

Again, this is not surprising in a country where the business community is closely linked to the political class. But for all the talk about transparency and the need to mobilize to monitor the sector, it is surprising how passive the otherwise vibrant civil society and media sector have been in their coverage of the oil and gas sector, particularly in the last few weeks. [The rest of this 520-word analysis is reserved for our clients]

Tags: Annahar, Apex Gas, Cyprus, gas, Gebran Bassil, Giorgos Lakkotrypis, Lebanon, L’Orient-Le Jour, Mohammad Choucair, Naji Abi Aad, NEOS GeoSolutions, oil, Petroleb, Petroserv, Saad Hariri, Salah Khayyat, Transparency, Ziad Abs

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