Published in May 2014, Gas in Lebanon’s Continental Shelf: from Conflict to Policy Making (ISBN: 978-9953-0-3008-1, 176 pp.) provides a detailed description of the legal, political, and economic issues related to the extraction of natural gas off the coast of Lebanon. The book summarizes the proceedings of an ACRPS workshop held in May, 2013, making this information available to readers for the first time. The book contains contributions from a number of experts, including: the ACRPS’s Zoheir Hamedi; Iraqi writer and oil expert Walid Khadduri; lawyer and legal expert Fadi Mughayzel; Lebanese judge and expert on international maritime boundaries, Tarek al-Majzoub; operations director of Petroleb, a Lebanese offshore drilling company, Naji Abi Aad; the Lebanese Ministry of Urban Design’s Boutros Labaki; and Professor Albert Dagher, from the Lebanese Military Staff College. The maps, tables, and charts included in the publication provide graphical illustration of the physical geography and topography of Lebanese natural resources, as well as how the economy of Lebanon would integrate a prospective hydrocarbons industry.
Mughayzel, who was previously commissioned by Lebanon’s Ministry of Energy to draft the legal framework for the extraction of natural gas, contributes an essay titled “The Legal Implications for the Production of Lebanese Gas”. The essay focuses on three main issues: drawing Lebanon’s maritime boundaries; the legal framework for oil production and the rules governing investment; and the applicable legal jurisdiction for hydrocarbons found in Lebanese maritime territory in light of international law. Tarek al-Majzoub, an engineer and specialist in international law, contributes a written assessment of Mughayzel’s piece.
Former deputy director of Lebanon’s Center for Development and Construction, Boutros Labaki’s paper, “Lebanon’s Continental Gas: from a Services-Rentier Economy to a Services-Development Economy,” offers a historical overview that chronicles the transformation of Lebanon’s economy from one based on agriculture and industrial production to one based on services, ultimately becoming an economy that combines elements of rentierism and services. Labaki goes on to examine the potential capability of Lebanon’s economic structures to absorb the prospective new oil industry, and undertakes a detailed discussion of the economic policies that would result in a balanced re-investment of gas revenues, taking into account the regional, social, and sectorial diversity of Lebanon. Albert Dagher provides a written response to Labaki’s intervention.
ACRPS Researcher Zoheir Hamedi, who has written extensively on the same issue, provides “The Geopolitical Map of Lebanon’s Natural Gas: Opportunities and Challenges” in which he poses a number of questions: in a turbulent geopolitical environment, how can Lebanon’s gas reserves be extracted and protected from Israeli territorial ambitions? What kind of prudent foreign policies could be utilized by Lebanon to bend the international climate to its favor? Hamedi’s essay takes in the geopolitical implications for Lebanon following the beginning of gas production, as well as the options available for Lebanon to make the most of possible European support. Oil expert Walid Khadduri and Petroleb’s Naji Abi Aad both provide written assessments of Hamedi’s research paper.
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