TUE 23 - 10 - 2018
Date: Oct 14, 2017
Source: The Daily Star
Murky as crude oil
The Daily Star Editorial

One would have thought that the oil and gas wealth that Lebanon is blessed with was a treasure owned by the Lebanese and its future generations that would help alleviate budgetary deficits while generating and sustaining enough wealth to develop the country and improve the lives of the people.

Unfortunately, any revelations on the subject by the energy minister have resembled a lecture about the dynamics and mechanics of oil exploration as adopted by other oil-producing countries.

Moreover, the lecture completely skipped the crux of the problem, and in a country like Lebanon governed by political interests, no one short of Agatha Christie’s Hercules Poirot can untangle the complications that ensue and put in perspective the whole policy of oil exploration and production we can expect in the future.

Be that as it may, there are a number of things the Lebanese need to know and have a right to know, and these include every element of the government’s policy down to the most minute details, without any hidden articles that could prove detrimental or controversial in the pursuit of this industry.

The magic word here is transparency and unfortunately until now all discussions lack this attribute, a case in point being why only three firms tendered bids although nearly 50 reputable and experienced oil giants have qualified.

We would also like to know who the parties behind these consortiums are, how the blocks were distributed and on what basis, as well as clarity on every step taken in the pursuit of this issue, the challenges and the solutions etc.

And finally, we need to know how this wealth will be dispersed and the method of oversight to ensure that the spoils go toward enhancing the country and the lives of its people in a sustainable manner rather than being divided among the usual suspects.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on October 14, 2017, on page 7.

The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the Arab Network for the Study of Democracy
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