Lebanon has said work will begin on its project to revive the Arab Gas Pipeline and receive natural gas from Egypt.
It comes as Lebanon is reeling from crippling electricity shortages. The pipeline has been out of service in Lebanon since before Syria’s 10-year conflict began in 2011.
Authorities hope the move will improve electricity production and expand the country’s tanks to increase oil reserves.
Energy Minister Walid Fayad said Egypt’s Technical Gas Services will begin renovation work on the pipeline inside Lebanon within days and the project should be done in a little more than two months.
Egypt has agreed to supply Lebanon with natural gas to its power plants through Jordan and Syria. Syrian experts have finished work inside the war-torn country. The Syrian government is under US and Western sanctions for its role in the war, which has left nearly half a million killed and disappeared and about half of the population displaced.
Despite the sanctions, the US has supported the resumption of natural gas flow from Egypt to Lebanon via Syria.
Mr Fayad said during a tour of an oil terminal that US officials who have visited Lebanon said the contract to bring gas from Egypt will not be affected by sanctions because “no cash is going from any side to Syria.”
He said Egyptian officials are in contact with the Americans to make sure that the contract does not breach the sanctions.
Mr Fayad said about 650 million cubic metres of gas will be brought to Lebanon through the pipeline annually to the Deir Ammar power station in the north. He said the amount will lead to the production of 450 megawatts of electricity adding three to four hours of electricity supplies a day.
He said the cost will be about 7.5 to 8 cents per kilowatt hour “which is cheaper than any production costs we have.”
Mr Fayad launched the project to upgrade and build new tanks to store oil products in the oil facility in this port city.
In 2019, Lebanon signed a deal with Russia’s largest oil company, Rosneft, to upgrade and operate storage installations in Tripoli. The deal made Rosneft manage storage operations.
Mr Fayad said Rosneft will rehabilitate and build tanks that can fit 150,000 cubic metres of strategic storage and at a later stage it can reach 250,000 cubic metres. Eventually it will fit 400,000 cubic metres.
He said the works will begin with the renovation of three tanks and the building of three new ones. He said the project was expected to take about 18 months.