Beirut, 27 June, 2014: In line with its efforts to evaluate the status of economic sectors in Lebanon and assess their viability and contribution to the Lebanese economy, BankMed held on June 27, 2014 a forum, titled, “Oil and Gas in Lebanon 2014,” at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beirut to address Lebanon’s oil and gas potential. The event, which received high interest and recognition, was attended by a large number of the Bank’s clients and key stakeholders in the sector.
The forum featured two keynote speakers, Dr. Walid Khadduri, Energy Affairs Expert, and Mr. Wissam Zahabi, Board Member and Head of the Economic and Financial Department at Lebanon’s Petroleum Administration (LPA), who addressed the opportunities and challenges of these resources for Lebanon and the Levant region.
The event commenced with a welcome note by Mr. Mohamed Ali Beyhum, BankMed’s Executive General Manager, who explained BankMed’s interest in this study. Mr. Beyhum noted that BankMed is the first bank in Lebanon to put such a forum together given the significant economic role of the Oil and Gas sector in the future and the importance of the potential involvement of the Lebanese financial institutions. Following Mr. Beyhum, BankMed’s Chief Economist and Head of Research, Dr. Mazen Soueid, discussed the importance of the natural resources discovery for the country, stressing the great economic opportunity that this discovery shall create if guided by strong governance practices.
Dr. Khadduri, explained the status of gas in the Levant, remarking that the demand for gas has risen up in the last decades, and it is now the second highest fuel used after oil. Dr. Khadduri inferred that this rising demand may serve as an opportunity for Lebanon to generate higher revenues and create more employment opportunities.
In his turn, Mr. Zahabi discussed the potential findings and discoveries of offshore oil and gas in Lebanon. He touched upon the legal and institutional framework for the exploration and exploitation processes as well as economic parameters, noting that there is a high appetite for investment in this field in Lebanon as 46 companies of 27 nationalities have already shown interest in this regard.
At the end of the forum, all attendees received a comprehensive report on the Oil and Gas sector, prepared by BankMed’s research team, followed by a cocktail held by the Bank in honor of the participants.
This pioneer event is another clear manifestation of BankMed’s continued efforts to keep its clients updated on the most recent insights of promising sectors.