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Egypt close to finalising arrangements for gas supplies to Lebanon

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By Reuters
Egypt close to finalising arrangements for gas supplies to Lebanon
Egypt close to finalising arrangements for gas supplies to Lebanon   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021

CAIRO – Egypt is finalising arrangements to start supplying gas to Lebanon soon under a plan to help ease Lebanon’s power crisis, the two countries’ energy ministers said after meeting on Tuesday.

Under an agreement announced last month, Egypt will supply natural gas to Lebanon via a pipeline that passes through Jordan and Syria to help to boost Lebanon’s electricity output. The deal, agreed by all four countries, is part of a U.S.-backed plan to address Lebanon’s power shortages.

Lebanese Energy Minister Walid Fayad said on Tuesday that Egypt could provide more gas than originally anticipated if necessary but gave no details.

“Egypt offered … helping in the energy sector through the possibility of offering extra quantities of gas,” Fayad said at a joint press briefing with Egyptian Petroleum Minister Tarek El Molla in Cairo after their meeting.

“We will have another discussion on this,” Fayad said, without elaborating.

Molla said that the two countries agreed on a roadmap for the gas supplies.

“God willing, we can finish the measures related to the deal within the few coming weeks,” Molla said, but did not say when supplies would begin.

Life in Lebanon has been paralysed by the crisis, which has deepened as supplies of imported fuel have dried up. It is part of a wider financial crisis that has sunk the Lebanese currency by 90% since 2019.

The energy plan, however, is complicated by U.S. sanctions on the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad. Lebanese officials have called on Washington to grant an exemption.

Damascus has said it is ready to cooperate.