Lebanon Ratifies Energy Law with New SWF

Ashby Monk

I noted a couple of weeks ago that Lebanon was planning to set up a new SWF in the hope that a large gas reserve would materialize off the Northern shore of Israel. At the time, I suggested this was a bit premature, since the gas wasn’t even discovered let alone generating revenues. Still, it seems some enlightened Lebanese policymakers are quite intent on preventing the resource curse should gas be discovered.

Indeed, we saw some progress on this front yesterday. According to an article in Reuters:

“Lebanon’s parliament unanimously ratified on Tuesday a long-awaited energy law, paving the way for exploration of major natural gas reserves the country says it has off its Mediterranean coast with Israel…The law had been discussed for many years but Israeli plans to drill for gas in the Mediterranean alarmed Lebanon — which fears Israel may be encroaching on its own reserves — sending Lebanese politicians scrambling to approve the law.”

And, according to MP Ali Hassan Khalil, the ratified law also includes a new SWF:

“Khalil said the law calls for setting up an entity under the auspices of the energy minister in which a sovereign wealth fund would be created to manage and invest potential energy revenues.”

So there you have it. Lebanon will have its SWF. Now, where will it look for design inspiration?

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This website is a project of Professor Gordon L. Clark and Dr. Ashby Monk of the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford. Their research on sovereign wealth funds is funded by the Leverhulme Trust and The Rotman International Centre for Pension Management.

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