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Norwegian Oil for Development Programme’s third phase signed at Foreign Ministry in presence of Abi Khalil, Lind

Foreign Affairs and Emigrants Ministry witnessed on Wednesday the signing of the third phase of the "Norway's Oil for Development (OfD) Programme to Deliver Capacity Building and Advocacy to the Lebanese Institutions in the Petroleum Sector" in cooperation with the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation of the Norwegian Foreign Ministry.

The agreement was signed on the Lebanese side by Caretaker Foreign Affairs and Emigrants Minister, Gebran Bassil, and Caretaker Water and Energy Minister, Cesar Abi Khalil, whereas Norwegian Ambassador to Lebanon, Lene Natasha Lind, signed on part of the Norwegian side.

"Today, we signed the third phase of the agreement with Norway within the framework of the Oil for Development Programme, which started in the year 2006," Minister Abi Khalil said in the wake of the signature ceremony.

The Minister disclosed that two phases of the agreement have been implemented so far with the assistance of other concerned ministries by setting all the legal, legislative and regulatory frameworks for the petroleum sector, notably the Lebanese Offshore Petroleum Resources Law (OPRL) and Lebanon Petroleum Activities Regulations (PAR).

In reply to a question, Abi Khalil hoped that all concerned departments and ministries would abide by the deadlines stated in the Lebanese Offshore Petroleum Resources Law and all related regulatory decrees, so as to avoid any delay in the exploration plan. He also hoped that the first oil well would be drilled in the year 2019 as intended and planned and in accordance with oil consortium obligations.

Ambassador Lind, for her part, deemed today's opportunity as a contended landmark in the path of bilateral relations between the two countries, anchoring cooperation in the field of oil and gas.

The Ambassador also expressed satisfaction regarding the progress witnessed in the country's petroleum sector, reflecting Lebanon's unwavering commitment to good governance and transparency in this domain.

Lind congratulated Abi Khalil and the Lebanese Petroleum Administration (LPA) for all the realized accomplishments in this sphere, whether at the level of preparations or exploration phases.

"We will continue our cooperation for the next three years," Lind said, stressing that Norway looks forward to contributing to the creation of a responsible management of oil resources at the socio-economic and environmental levels.

"As a partner, Norway will be ready to provide consultation on a permanent basis," Lind corroborated, saying Norway looks forward to strengthening partnership with Lebanon in the coming years.

Source: National News Agency