Egypt to supply Lebanon with natural gas 'within a few weeks': Minister

Mohamed Soliman , Tuesday 5 Oct 2021

Egypt is set to commence with exporting gas to Lebanon soon as part of a previously agreed upon roadmap to ease Lebanon's power crisis, the two countries' energy ministers said on Tuesday after two-day talks in Cairo.

Egyptian Petroleum Minister Tarek El-Molla (R) and his Lebanese counterpart Walid Fayad during a press conference in Cairo on Tuesday, 5 October 2021 (photo courtesy of the Egyptian Petroleum ministry)

"The procedures necessary to supply Egyptian natural gas to Lebanon are due to be completed within the coming few weeks," Egyptian Petroleum Minister Tarek El-Molla said at a press conference.

The two sides discussed re-activating the Arab Gas Pipeline to send Egyptian gas through Syria and Jordan, Lebanese Energy Minister Walid Fayad said.

Tuesday's announcement comes nearly a month after the energy ministers of Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan agreed during a meeting in Jordan on a roadmap to provide Egyptian natural gas to crisis-stricken Lebanon.

The two-day consultations in Cairo aimed to draw up a plan for supplying Lebanon with Egyptian gas, including all technical, commercial, and contractual aspects, the Egyptian minister explained.

"The likelihood of exporting additional amounts of [Egyptian] gas, whether in the long or short terms, was also discussed," said Minister Fayad, without explaining further.

The Lebanese minister said that such cooperation will contribute to improving the power sector, restoring financial sustainability, and preserving the environment in Lebanon.

Earlier today, Minister Fayad met with Egyptian Minister of Electricity Mohamed Shaker, where they discussed facilitating the involvement of Egyptian companies in electricity projects in Lebanon to help solve its energy shortage problems.

Lebanon’s energy crisis significantly worsened when its two main power plants, which had been generating 40 percent of the country’s energy, were shut down in July due to fuel shortages.

As per the agreement with Cairo, Egyptian gas will be transported via Jordan and Syria to northern Lebanon to activate gas-operated power plants that had been non-functional for 11 years.

Egypt achieved self-sufficiency in natural gas by the end of September 2018, with the current natural-gas production having reached 7.2 billion cubic feet per day.

The boom in the North African country's gas production has been supported by huge gas discoveries and production, the biggest of which is the giant Zohr field in the Mediterranean, which was discovered in 2015 and is believed to be the largest-ever gas discovery in Egypt and the Mediterranean.

Egypt plans to use its location on Europe’s doorstep to become a major supplier of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the continent, which is transitioning away from other fossil fuels.

Egypt has the infrastructure for the transport and handling of natural gas, with the main network of 7,000km of pipelines, as well as a distribution network of 31,000km, and 29 gas-treatment plants in addition to two LNG facilities.

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