Exclusive interview with Jocelyne Joseph Tayeh, Chairperson - General Manager of United Petroleum Company - Lebanon

After consolidating its position as a brand leader in the Lebanese downstream oil and gas sector in Lebanon, United Petroleum looks to have future investment plans in the sector, said  Jocelyne Tayeh, Chairperson -  General Manager, of the company.

Founded by Lebanese businessman Joseph Tayeh in 1983 along with Universal Gas in 1984, United Petroleum Company has become a leading company in the downstream petroleum sector in Lebanon, serving wholesale, retail through the distribution of petroleum products of carburant, Lubricants and gas with premium quality and excellent service.

United Petroleum Company is being viewed as a domestic brand leader and is always ready for any developments in the oil sector, explains Jocelyne Joseph Tayeh, Chairperson -  General Manager, of the company.

United Petroleum is a major sponsor of the 4th Lebanon International Oil & Gas Summit (4th LIOG-2018).  The LIOG team discussed with the Chairperson -  General Manager, of the company her team’s aspirations for the oil and gas industry in both the upstream and downstream business.

 

How do you evaluate the potential of Lebanon’s petroleum sector?

Lebanon shows high potential of evolvement in the petroleum sector which has moved from constant planning to actual implementation, in the midst of all the domestic and political challenges. Ground administrative work is under execution.

 

Do you have any assessment of the required investments in your sector for this nascent industry? What can drive the growth in investments?

The required investments in this nascent industry should be under a transparent policy by the government. Investors should have advanced qualifications, respect the terms and willing to publish all signed contracts, maintain a database to keep close eyes on the process and have a strategic plan for implementing and evaluating the impact on local policies.

There are three key factors that drive the growth in this sector:

  • Increase the drilling activities in explored zones to keep pace with the demand
  • Increase exploration of unconventional gas resources to decrease dependency on conventional ones, meet the needs of the local market and reduce the cost on the Lebanese people
  • Investment in this sector creates new job opportunities, develops the private sector and local industry

 

What role can United Petroleum play in developing the oil and gas sector in Lebanon?

United Petroleum Company’s activity consists of importing and distributing petroleum products and not to explore, it doesn’t have a direct influence in developing this sector for the time being. In the future, we may have plans to be involved, it all depends on the execution and terms transparency.

 

What is the level of awareness regarding the upstream and downstream business in Lebanon?

The oil and gas industry has a direct influence on every commodity in the market around the world.

Most sectors and societies depend on the power and energy generated by oil and gas to achieve their business tasks, this leads to a huge demand on these products. The countries with huge crude oil storage are the richest and are able to control the market. By exploring new extracting fields in other countries, the cost can be reduced and free of being monopolized. Furthermore, a balance between extracting and demand must be maintained to reach a stable cost that reflects on the price of all goods and services.

Therefore, it is important to identify risks and solutions through technological innovation to maintain local economic balance and need.

Upstream sector

The upstream sector of the oil and gas industry involves intensive efforts towards searching for and the extracting of crude oil as well as its production.

This process is very difficult and therefore requires the service of experts in the field and using information technology that plays active roles in the exploration or searching in order to easily discover new fields and take advantage of them.

Downstream sector

The downstream sector involves the refining of the crude oil and/or raw natural gas extracted in the upstream sector as well as selling or distributing. Many products are derived from the refining of crude oil and these may include diesel oil, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), asphalt, petroleum coke, gasoline, fertilizers, antifreeze, plastics, rubbers, pesticides, synthetic rubber, jet fuel and many more.

The downstream sector relates with the consumers. Facilities involved in this sector include petrochemical plants, oil refineries, natural gas distribution companies, retail outlets and so forth.

 

What are your expectations from United Petroleum’s participation in the 4th edition of the Lebanon International Oil and Gas Summit?

Our participation in this summit is very important, as we are one of the major companies dealing with the oil trade, have a large share in the Lebanese market and always keep pace with the oil and social activities.

 

Based on your experience, what are your recommendations to the other industry leaders?

Our recommendation is to the industrialists to keep pace with this sector’s latest technology and invest in exploration and refining.