Regional Arab Governments Devise A Plan To Save Lebanon With A 20 Year Old Gas Pipeline

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Regional Arab Governments Devise A Plan To Save Lebanon With A 20 Year Old Gas Pipeline

Fri, 09/10/2021 - 09:36
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Near East satelite image with marked borders (copyright by Shutterstock/Viacheslav Lopatin)
Near East satelite image with marked borders (copyright by Shutterstock/Viacheslav Lopatin)

The governments of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon have come together to transport Egyptian gas via an Arab pipeline built some 20 years ago to ease Lebanon's crippling power crisis.

The plan is part of a U.S. - backed effort to address Lebanon's chronic power shortages, a crisis that has worsened as the supply of imported fuel has dried up, all linked to Lebanon's wider financial crisis that has eroded that value of the Lebanese pound by 90% since 2019.

Egypt's Petroleum Minister Tarek El Molla said "we have put a roadmap with the ministers so that within the coming few weeks we can ensure that everything is ready so that we can after this review begin pumping gas at the earliest opportunity."

Lebanon hopes to get enough gas to generate 450 megawatts (MW) of power at a power plant in the north and is working with the World Bank to secure financing, energy minister Raymond Ghajar said.

"In future there is the possibility of importing electricity from Jordan also through Syria after repairs to areas damaged by war," he said.

The United States has imposed tough sanctions on the Syrian government. On a Beirut visit last week, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen told Reuters ways were being looked at to address the complication despite the sanctions.

Lebanon's state-owned power company is generating minimal amounts of power, leaving businesses and households almost entirely dependent on small, privately-owned generators. Industry experts put Lebanon's peak power demand at 3,500 MW.

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