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The fall of crude oil prices by 50 percent since June is seen to largely benefit oil-importing economies and to challenge oil exporters. In the case of Lebanon, an energy importer and aspiring energy exporter, there are mixed effects on its broader economy, and vital lessons as it works to launch its oil and gas industry. This is significant given that in the past four years exceptionally high oil prices have cost the Lebanese government, on average, an astounding 4.7 percent of GDP to maintain electricity prices constant, by covering any price difference above $23 per barrel.In 2014, Lebanese expatriates sent a significant $7.7 billion to support families back home – which constitutes more than 16 percent of Lebanon's GDP.This has caused Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh to find falling oil prices the biggest economic challenge facing the country in 2015 . When it comes to Lebanon's embryonic oil and gas sector, the sharp energy price drop offers a significant cautionary tale as the country prepares to launch its first licensing round.This can also be an opportunity to persuade the Lebanese to diversify the economy away from the oil sector.
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