Drilling of Lebanon’s first offshore well started on February 27. All eyes are pinned on Byblos 1, waiting to find out whether it is a dry or a commercial well. It will take at least three or four months before there will be a conclusive result, however. What is critical to understand is that this is merely an exploration phase. Lebanon has not yet joined the new group of oil and gas producing countries—in fact there is still a chance it might never do so. What is even more critical to realize is that even if the stars align for Lebanon and offshore oil and gas is discovered—and at a volume that would make its extraction commercially viable for energy companies—that becoming a new oil and gas producing country will take time. Take Guyana as one sobering example of the length of time it can take to see results. […]