Arab States Agree to Supply Gas to Energy-Hungry Lebanon
(Bloomberg) -- Egypt agreed to supply natural-gas to Lebanon through Jordan and Syria as the Arab states seek to help end power shortages in their crisis-ridden neighbor.
Energy ministers from the four countries agreed during a meeting in Jordan on Wednesday to work out details of a plan to resume Egyptian gas shipments and Jordanian power to Lebanon. The gas will help feed the Deir Ammar power plant in Lebanon, which has a capacity of 450 megawatts, Egypt’s oil ministry said in a statement.
The agreement could help cut Lebanon’s need for the fuel that Iran had promised to ship to Lebanon last month. Dorothy Shea, the US Ambassador in Lebanon, later told Al Arabiya that the US was in talks with Egypt, Jordan and the World Bank to find sustainable solutions to Lebanon’s energy needs. The country has been experiencing worsening power outages amid dire economic and political crises.
Agreements covering the transit of fuel through the countries will be revised within the next three weeks, said Jordanian energy minister Hala Zawati at a press conference in Amman on Wednesday.
The Arab Gas Pipeline previously transported Egyptian gas to Lebanon via Jordan and Syria, but rising domestic demand crimped Egypt’s exports before a series of attacks on the line in war-torn Syria shuttered that route for gas to Lebanon completely about a decade ago.
The pipeline will need to be fixed before it can be used again, said Syrian Oil Minister Bassam Tohme after the meeting. Each state will send technical teams to inspect the pipeline over the next few weeks, he said.
While U.S. sanctions on Syria remain in place, Jordan’s King Abdullah II discussed plans to reopen the pipeline with President Joe Biden on a visit to the White House in July, said Zawati.
Lebanon is working with the World Bank to secure guarantees to cover payments for the gas, said Lebanon’s Energy Minister Raymond Ghajar.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.