Cabinet to Discuss Thursday Petroleum Authority Members' 'Outrageous' Salaries

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The final cabinet session for the 2012, which includes 49 articles on its agenda, is expected to witness a heated debate over the salaries of the appointed six-member petroleum authority, media reports said on Tuesday.

According to al-Liwaa newspaper, Energy Minister Jebran Bassil will propose during the session on Thursday at the Baabda Palace that the monthly salary of each member of the authority be fixed to nearly $24,000.

The reason behind the high salaries is to “motivate the members of the authority to remain in their positions to maintain their tasks and not to be drawn to offers by private international companies,” An Nahar newspaper said.

The formation of the Petroleum Authority in November was the first major step in future oil exploration since parliament passed a law in 2011 setting the country's maritime boundary and Exclusive Economic Zone.

The members of the authority that has the power to negotiate with international oil companies and issue licenses for the winning firms are Nasser Hteit, Walid Nasser, Wissam al-Zahabi, Assem Abu Ibrahim, Wissam Shbat and Gaby Daaboul.

Al-Liwaa said that kicking off the oil exploration process off Lebanon's shore will need a minimum of seven years, but the tenure of the authority members is six years whereby the head of the committee will be rotated each year between the six members to appease the major factions in the country.

The authority members and their families will also benefit from full healthcare.

Lebanon has been slow to exploit its maritime resources compared with other eastern Mediterranean countries. Israel, Cyprus and Turkey are all much more advanced in drilling for oil and gas.

The country has submitted to the United Nations a maritime map that conflicts significantly with one proposed by Israel.

The disputed zone consists of about 854 square kilometers (330 square miles), and suspected energy reserves there could generate billions of dollars.

Two companies working with the Lebanese authorities that specialize in three-dimensional exploration have already surveyed around half the Exclusive Economic Zone, Bassil said in September.

They found a large number of gas reservoirs all along the coast.

The area off the southern coast alone contains 12 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, the minister said.

Comments 19
Thumb gebran_sons 25 December 2012, 08:53

This is legal robbery reflecting the mafia-type government we have and the endemic corruption of Bassil and company. The commissioners will in a way be entrusted with Lebanon's future and the welfare of future generations. They should have impeccable honesty record and not belong to any political party to insure their independence. Only those with impeccable public service and professional dedication should qualify. Their salary should be similar to other high ranking civil servants but adjusted based on performance in safegarding Lebanon's interests. It is discusting that this government formed by a criminal regime, a criminal militia, and totally corrupt FPM is entrusted with Lebanon's future.

Thumb andre.jabbour 25 December 2012, 10:38

24k / month is way too much. I suddenly wonder how much Miqati or Bassil take every month.

Default-user-icon MUSTAPHA O. GHALAYINI (Guest) 25 December 2012, 14:36

the outrageous salaries is a solid proof that we are going to civil war

Missing samiam 25 December 2012, 15:03

The government really must be a lot more transparent and stuff like this should have been revealed from the beginning. The politicians like secrecy because they always have stuff to hide.

Until we get a party that actually worries about corruption and not pretends to (FPM), we will always be stuck with this kind of crap.

Missing phillipo 25 December 2012, 16:31

Now I completely understand the negative reaction when I proposed in a previous comment on an article on the petroleum industry that the members should be drawn from international experts.
Each group has had to put their candidate in the Petroleum Authority so that with a monthly salary of $24,000 he would kow-tow to the demands of his own political leader.
By the way, I notice that there are no female experts in the petroleum field in Lebanon, otherwise I can't understand why there is not at least one woman on the Authority.

Missing peace 25 December 2012, 16:32

and they ve been whining for a year to raise people's salaries... tfeh 3aleyhoum

Thumb LebDinosaur 25 December 2012, 16:51

I hope this report is not true. What a shame! This is a robery of the highest kind!!!!

These positions should be non-paid actually. They should have appointed people that don't need the money, and who will volunteer to do this for Lebanon, ethically & professionally.

Default-user-icon XXX (Guest) 25 December 2012, 17:04

All politicians are thieves, all government employees are thieves. The Lebanese don't deserve any better because they accept the situation. Gibran said it 100 years ago and it is still true today: You have your Lebanon and I have mine.

Default-user-icon JC Williams (Guest) 25 December 2012, 17:14

Apparently most of you do not realize how much money is in the petroleum/natural gas sector or how much Lebanon has in it's reserve. These salaries are by no means exorbidant by industry standards. If they can do the job and limit unofficial corruption this will be a bargain. It's practically charity work/pro bono. Who is paying for car service and security? Do they get a clothing allowance.

Missing peace 26 December 2012, 01:05

lol they haven t even extracted oil and people are demanding a raise but no money for them and those who still didn t do a thing are paid thousands... that is outrageous!!!!!

Thumb whyaskwhy 25 December 2012, 17:52

Clown proposes to rid Lebanon of corruption yet comes up with these wacky ideas that show that he is corrupted to the bone. Run after him and make sure you kiss his robe too!
A third world country with people that get what they aspire for...

Missing peace 25 December 2012, 19:56

another super idea from......Bassil !!!!

Missing helicopter 25 December 2012, 20:51

It is prime time for a second Cedar Revolution. This time not against the Syrian occupier but against the Mafia heads (so called politicians are nothing but pirates). The salaries had to be this high since portion of the money must be given back to those who chose them. Corruption to the bone while the population is divided and each group defends its pirate.

Missing ghzayel 25 December 2012, 21:33

in a country where more than half of the population is at or below the poverty level with a government that cannot increase the salaries to its retired employees whose majority are left with a family income of less $700 per month here comes the fpm wiz kid bassilly with his over generous obscene salary proposal for the petroleum authority officials.

talking about joining thesis and anti thesis in the fpm lexicon reform translates into more corruption and change = change the people while keeping the same old mafia style.

Missing lebcan 26 December 2012, 03:00

God !!! We need another cedar revaloution!!!
This time all Lebanese Muslims and Christians and ALL... Need to put these thugs and thieves in jail and we the people to employee politicians to work for us!!!
Here is the first sign for you all to know that a politician will be a crook... It's simple ... First thing that disqualifies them is when they say they want to be your leader... That is the first sign, is that they use the word they WANT... Rather then be asked.

Default-user-icon Sami Hatoum (Guest) 26 December 2012, 04:02

This a typical in Lebanon. Bunch of thievies call themselves politicians. All the people in Lebanon deserve that, because they follow such blood suckers politicians,that keep them divided.
$24000 monthly "The reason behind the high salaries is to “motivate the members of the authority to remain in their positions to maintain their tasks and not to be drawn to offers by private international companies" Let these people go some where else and make on tenth of this. These positions should be opened to evry Lebanese capaple and should compete for these position.
I have a news to all the people of Lebanon, if they see any PENNY of their oil in the next hundred years, please wake me up from my grave.

Thumb LebDinosaur 26 December 2012, 16:48

Yup. Thieves, liars, incompetent, manipulators, selfish, unethical, useless. That describes well our politicians, or maybe 90% of them.

Missing greatpierro 26 December 2012, 08:12

the salary does't shock me as the job requires a lot of competences and responsibility. What shocks me is that we have to appoint 6 of different communities each with the same salary.

Default-user-icon THamsi (Guest) 27 December 2012, 21:54

Pludering the nation's resources is what these guys are good at...each one of these committes menbers" will get a quota of the loot for his party while the nation gets a measly benefit from it all...It is going to take at least five years before we see a drop of oil being drilled and in the meantime everyone will jockey for the best position to get the biggest share for himself once that stuff starts to come out...shame! We all know what is coming!