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Are Wealth and Prosperity Awaiting Lebanon?

Are Wealth and Prosperity Awaiting Lebanon?

4th LIOG- Summit, Beirut, April 24-25, 2018

Promoting Lebanon’s Dynamic and Inspiring Opportunities, was the slogan of the fourth Lebanon Oil and Gas (LIOG) Summit, held at the Hilton Grand Habtoor Hotel on the 24th and 25th of January 2018 in Beirut, under the patronage of H.E. Engineer Cesar Abi Khalil, Minister of Energy and Water, and in cooperation with the Lebanese Petroleum Administration (LPA). During the inauguration ceremony, his Excellency, Mr. Abi Khalil undertook to prepare the second oil and gas licensing round.

Four hundred participants were present, indicating the importance of Lebanon to the world. This event would not have taken place without the excellent efforts of Global Event Partners and the sponsorship of pre-eminent companies, such as Schlumberger, Baker Hughes GE, Petrofac, Eurotech, Arope, AFIL, Alem & Associates, Obeid Law Firm, the Italian Trade companies representing Italian companies, and several others.

Lebanon signed, recently, the first Exploration and Production Agreements (EPA) with a consortium of three international oil companies, Total, Eni, and Novatek, over the two blocks 4 and 9, allowing local and international companies and investors to seize this opportunity. LIOG organizing committee considered this event “a real business platform… with excellent networking opportunities…” to discover and connect with a talented and aspiring young Arab generation, particularly within Lebanon.

Although the topic addressed was highly specialized, the speakers’ passion and know-how were contagious and aroused strong interest. They covered the subject in a manner enabling the attendees to gain a broad understanding of the oil and gas sector and comprehend its economic, environmental, and social dimension.

In a country troubled by instability of the region, renewed hope is on the horizon, with new opportunities for a despondent generation of intelligent and talented young people, who are highly ambitious, but find their prospects limited by the status quo. The youth, powerless to break the system, finish university and head abroad to pursue, in many cases, highly successful careers.

This business summit presented opportunities for networking, meeting with potential customers and raising awareness about Lebanon’s talented, young workforce keen to engage in the challenges and opportunities of a new sphere of activity that could lead to a promising future within their own country.

The summit did not only take an active interest in the local workforce; it worked on connecting Lebanese firms, which are potential providers of services and goods, with their foreign counterparts. Companies and governments, including the Egyptian government, were keen to promote and advance the oil and gas sector by offering their know-how and a full range of services and products. A whole new field is awaiting Lebanon, bringing hope and, at the same time, a certain apprehension at this new venture for the country.

It is true that expectations are very high, and there are still doubts over the quantity of oil that may be discovered. Nevertheless, the LPA is promoting this promising new sector, while mindful of the serious consequences of any hindrance that could derail the prospect of success. However, the regulations endorsed by parliament and their application decrees guarantee the good implementation of the process by respecting the rules of governance, the environment and human values.

The Summit stressed the key roles of the different sectors expected to help in achieving success. Legal advisors, insurers, bankers, HSE consultants, security specialists and trainers referred to the positive impact of oil and gas on the economy. Laws adopted at the dawn of the 21st century, such as Privatization Law No 228/2000, Law No 444/2002, Decree 8633/2012 and several others, stress the importance of creating a public-private partnership, where multi-billions of US dollars must be injected in order to increase the national income and pave the way for small and medium-sized enterprises to participate in this exciting new venture for the country.

This dream will likely come true, but we need to wait. André Gide said in “Fruits of The Earth”: “Nathanael, I will talk to you about longing. I have seen the plain in the summer longing for rain.” And as the plain of Gide, we in Lebanon now long for our metaphorical rain. What we witnessed over these two long days were hopes and dreams in the making. It will take strength, guidance and wisdom from the public sector to work hand in hand with the private sector to ensure the maximum benefit for Lebanon and meet the aspirations of a generation.

Lebanon Gas News Editor.

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