Beruit Skyline Anwar Amro/Getty Images

Kan Libanon ontsnappen aan de vloek van de natuurlijke hulpbronnen?

BEIROET – Na tweeëneenhalf jaar zonder president heeft het Libanese parlement Michel Aoun als president gekozen. Libanon kan zijn aandacht nu richten op de olie- en gasproductie, waarbij de verwachtingen van de beleidsmakers hoog oplopen – grenzend aan irrationele overdrijving – dat een energiemeevaller de economie van het land, die heeft geleden onder het slechte politieke en economische bestuur en de overloopeffecten van de Syrische burgeroorlog, een nieuwe impuls zal geven.

Libanons potentiële koolwaterstofrijkdom zou het land inderdaad kunnen transformeren, en een model kunnen opleveren dat andere energieproducenten uit het Midden-Oosten kunnen volgen. Maar beleidsmakers moeten oppassen voor vier grote risico's. Om te beginnen zijn de olie- en gasprijzen wisselvallig, en hebben fossiele brandstoffen in het algemeen een onzekere toekomst. De olie- en gasprijzen zijn sinds juni 2014 met zo'n 60% gedaald, en het is onwaarschijnlijk dat ze zich op de middellange termijn zullen herstellen. We zijn aangeland in het tijdperk van het “nieuwe normaal” van de olieprijzen, dat wordt bepaald door een overvloed aan alternatieve energiebronnen.

In de tweede plaats is de omvang van de winbare energiereserves van Libanon onzeker. Even belangrijk is dat zelfs onder het meest optimistische scenario het vermogen van het land om de olie- en gaswinning, -productie en -distributie te managen eveneens onzeker is.

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