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This Update is produced on a monthly basis. It provides an
update on new legislation in certain Middle East countries
(Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait,
Qatar, the Sultanate of Oman and the United Arab Emirates) where
SNR Denton has offices. We also include Lebanon updates from our
associate firm in Beirut.
This Update is not an exhaustive list of all new legislation,
but a summary of new legislation that we feel may be significant
for clients. Should you require further detail on any of the laws
referred to in this Update, please contact the relevant managing
partner. Please note that, in some jurisdictions, new laws may come
into effect which have not been officially published in the
publications we have reviewed as mentioned below. Also, some of the
official publications in these jurisdictions are not published on a
Amending Some Provisions of the Law on The State Civil Servants
System Promulgated by Law No. 47 of the year 1978
Issuance of Decree No. 50/2012 relating to the Authority
for the Management of the Petroleum Sector (the
This Decree’s issuance constitutes a major milestone in the
implementation of the Oil and Gas Law (Law No. 132/2010, the Law).
Article 10 of the Law had indeed provided for the establishment of
an independent body that would be subject to the supervisory
authority of the Minister of Energy and Water (the Minister) and
had announced an implementing Decree. A number of specific rules
govern the Authority, which is not subject to the laws and
regulations governing public bodies in Lebanon (“les établissements
While it does not enjoy decision-making powers, the Authority
plays an essential role in the decision-making process that lies
mainly in the hands of the Council of Ministers. In the Law’s first
implementation phase, a notable function of the Authority is to
conduct the required technical evaluation of candidates and as well
as assessment of the applications for licence. It is also to play a
major role in the negotiations that are to be carried out between
the Lebanese State and investors.
Decree No. 50/2012 contains the rules relating to the
administration, finances and employees of the Authority. In an
effort to foster the implementation of the Law, a single Decree has
addressed all these issues in contrast with other sectors where
several regulations issued on various different levels were
As a general matter, the Decree strives to secure the
establishment of a board and staff that are both qualified and
independent from the economic players. Specific rules relating to
appointment, conflicts of interest, duties and remuneration are
spelled out, thus making the Authority a transparent and
The Decree confirms the position of the Authority as the
“technical arm” of the Minister. The Authority is an advisory body
subject to the Minister’s control and not a decision-making body.
The language of the Law and that of the Decree are clear in this
respect. The Decree corroborates the idea of the subordination of
the Authority to the Minister. It lists for instance (as required
by the Law) the decisions that require the Minister’s approval:
these notably include communications with the media, important
financial decisions relating to the Authority itself, as well as
the hiring of staff and the termination of their employment. The
Decree also sets up a rotating presidency whereby one of the six
board members chairs the Authority for a short, one-year, term,
which will probably make it difficult for the Authority to develop
a strong and steady governance.
* Administrative regulations: The Authority is
divided into units, each of which is chaired by a board member
(strategic planning; technical engineering; geology; legal;
financial; economic; and quality, health, security and environment
(QHSE) units). The Decree provides a detailed list of the scope of
work for each one of these units. It defines the rules governing
the meetings of the board, its prerogatives and those of its
chairman. It also determines the conditions for the appointment of
the board members, and sets out their duties as well as rules
relating to termination of office.
* Financial regulations: The financial
regulations notably address the Authority’s budget, which is
prepared by the Authority but requires the Minister’s approval
before it reaches the Council of Ministers. This section also
addresses the accounts of the Authority (which are not separate
from those of the State), the management of its assets, its
reporting duties and its auditing.
* Employees’ regulations: The section relating
to employees governs employees hired for a definite period of time
(these are required to have held Lebanese nationality for the past
10 years). The Decree sets out the conditions of and impediments to
their appointment, lists their duties, and includes provisions
relating to remuneration, allowances, compensation and other
The issuance of Decree No. 50/2012 was a necessary step for the
appointment of the Authority’s board members, which is expected to
be made soon. The Ministry of Energy and Water has called upon
candidates to apply for these positions3. Once the board members are
appointed, the next important step will be for the bidding round to
1. See the telecommunications sector for instance.
2. This provision comes in addition to other existing laws that aim
to secure transparency and fight bribery, for instance Law No.
154/1999 on illicit enrichment or the Criminal Code (notably
articles 351 et seq. thereof).
Launch of Qatar Interbank Offer Rate
On 6 May 2012, the Qatar Interbank Offer Rate (QIBOR) was
launched. This is a partnership between Qatar Central Bank (QCB)
and Bloomberg. QIBOR uses the contributed offer rates offered by
nine panel banks, which are calculated by Bloomberg. It is hoped
that QIBOR will encourage a more active interbank market in Qatar.
There are eight different tenures, ranging from overnight to one
year fixings, and the rates are calculated and published on a daily
basis on QCB's website.
Ministry of Justice
For more information about the laws contained in this Update,
please contact your usual SNR Denton contact.
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