News & Media

March 4, 2011
“Geopolitics of Oil and Gas in Lebanon and in the Near East” round table

Under the patronage of H.E. Mr. Gebran Bassil, Minister of Energy and Water, the Faculty of Law and the Higher Institute of Political and Administrative Sciences organized, on March 4, 2011, a conference-round table on “The Geopolitics of Oil and Gas in Lebanon and in the Near East”.

The welcome speech was delivered by Mr. Khalil Abboud, Deputy Director of the USEK Student Affairs Office, in which he mentioned that the objective of the round table is to shed light on the momentous issue of the recent discoveries of massive gas fields located on the maritime boundary line between Lebanon and several adjoining countries. Dr. Georges Yahchouchi, Director of the Higher Institute of Political and Administrative Sciences, mentioned, in the opening speech, that the colossal discoveries of oil in the Middle-East, which were found in the early 20th century, have transformed the geopolitics and the economies of Middle-East countries. He also mentioned that the conference-roundtable underlines strategic questions; Will the recent discoveries of oil and gas in the east Mediterranean Sea reshape the geopolitics of the Near East and in which direction? What is the Lebanese government strategy related to exploring and securing oil and gas? How will the Lebanese economy and the Lebanese people benefit from this potential future wealth?
H.E. Mr. Bassil pointed out, in his speech, that the Ministry of Energy is currently working on the exploitation of resources, in order to become entitled to this fortune which belongs to the Lebanese people and its future generations: “We collected all the geophysical information in terms of the Lebanese territorial waters and started to establish a Data Room managed by well-known Lebanese geophysical experts”. Bassil also emphasized that such a project is not the responsibility of the concerned minister or ministry only; stating that, since a person or organization by itself cannot achieve such a huge plan, it requires the deployment of complementary efforts from all citizens who should be ready to take part in this national endeavor.

Afterwards, H.E. Mr. Homer Mavrommatis, Ambassador of Cyprus to Lebanon, underlined, in his speech entitled, “Learning from Neighboring Country’s Experience” that energy in Cyprus constitutes one of the most important sectors of the economy. He added that the local energy sector is characterized by a high dependence on imported energy, a rapid growth in energy demand and the difficulties of interconnection with European networks, due to Cyprus’ geographical location and the relatively low utilization of Renewable Energy Sources. On the other hand, he stressed that the political and economic benefits of the implementation of the agreement between Cyprus and Lebanon on the Delimitation of the EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zones), already signed in 2007, would be great for both countries: “Cyprus hopes that Lebanon takes the necessary political steps that will enable both countries to safeguard their interests and exercise their sovereign rights in the region, by ratifying, as soon as possible, the agreement on the delimitation of the EEZ”, the Ambassador concluded.
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