Comments on Lebanon’s potential oil and gas finds in The National, Aug 25 2023

26 August, 2023
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Dr. Nasser Saidi’s comments appeared in an article in The National titled “Lebanon ‘years away’ from realising benefits of potential oil and gas finds” published on 25th August 2023.

The comments are posted below.

There’s a “presource risk” when it comes to Lebanon’s case, where policymakers ramp up spending in anticipation of potential future revenue, Nasser Saidi, president of Nasser Saidi and Associates and Lebanon’s former economy minister, told The National.

Even if they find oil and gas trapped beneath the seabed, the quantity discovered may not be worth a major investment, Mr Saidi said.

For Lebanon’s economy to benefit from any future oil and gas production, a national oil fund that is independent of the country’s Finance Ministry needs to be set up, Mr Saidi said.

“There should be a strict law on the use of any revenues because this is resource wealth that is not renewable … you have to keep it for future generations,” he said.

In Lebanon’s case, revenue from oil and gas exports will come after “seven to eight years” as it builds the necessary infrastructure and pipelines, Mr Saidi said.

“We don’t know what the price of oil and gas is going to be by then. The world is in the energy transition and everybody is moving towards renewable energy and that might mean potentially downward pressure on oil and gas prices,” he said.

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