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The prospect of creating a national oil company in Lebanon is now at the forefront of a national discussion concerning the country's nascent oil and gas sector. Recent calls for the establishment of an NOC are based on a belief that Lebanon stands to gain by creating an institution to oversee various aspects of the sector. To adequately assess whether an NOC should be established, it must first be determined whether establishing one is viable at all and if so, at what stage an NOC could benefit Lebanon. To justify its establishment, a company should have a useful role to play, be affordable, and the government should also be able to hold it to account.Following commercial discoveries, an NOC could legally be established and mandated to manage or hold minority stakes in licenses on behalf of the government – a classic role for new NOCs in emerging producer countries.As the state ultimately pays, the government should consider carefully what NOC role is beneficial to the country.
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