July 01, 2016 | English and Arabic | Ricardo Khoury and Dima AlhajStrengthening Environmental Governance of the Oil and Gas Sector in Lebanon
Offshore oil and gas activities present environmental challenges due to the remote and harsh operating environment and the vulnerability of marine ecosystems in which they take place. As Lebanon is a potential emerging offshore oil and gas producer, it must be prepared to address environmental challenges that are intrinsic to the sector. In many aspects the Lebanese environmental governance system generally meets international environmental standards in the management of the oil and gas industry. However, there are various gaps that need to be addressed ensure that the Lebanese government is prepared to manage environmental risks associated with offshore oil and gas activities. To do this, the responsibilities of the Ministry of Environment and other concerned ministries must be better defined, capacities of concerned institutions need to be bolstered, the procedures by which third parties are used for inspections and investigations should be developed, new legislation should be passed covering management and disposal of drilling and production wastes, and the provisions under which environmental assessments are carried out and environmental permits are issued must be finalized.