BEIRUT: A group of Lebanese energy analysts has founded an NGO to promote civil awareness and government transparency about Lebanon’s potential oil and gas industry.

The Lebanese Gas & Oil Initiative reached its first crowdsourcing goal of $10,000 within three weeks, and its first project is to bring together a global network of experts, from geologists to lawyers, to pool knowledge and research for various initiatives.

It will soon launch an interactive industry 101 on its website, as well as a white paper comparing export strategies. It has also partnered with the SKeyes Center on an app for citizens to fact-check statements by officials. “We believe oil and gas belongs to all Lebanese citizens and it’s their right to be involved in the process of decision-making,” co-founder Karen Ayat told The Daily Star.

While acknowledging it would be “tricky” to pass the two decrees stuck in Cabinet limbo that are holding up the bidding process, Ayat said the delay gives civil society time to prepare itself and inform the debate.

“People are either not aware of the resources or don’t care because they don’t think they will benefit because the government is corrupt. … If people are equipped … they will challenge the government in offering solid answers.”

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on May 06, 2015, on page 5.