Egypt's natural gas pipelines (Reuters)
Amman will host a ministerial meeting that involves the energy ministers of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan on Wednesday 8 August, to discuss the transport of Egyptian gas to Lebanon for electricity generation, state-owned news agency Mamlaka reported.
The meeting will take place in the Jordanian capital at the invitation of Jordan’s Minister of Energy Hala Zawati.
The meeting comes after Damascus welcomed Lebanon’s plea to erect gas and electricity lines from Egypt and Jordan through Syrian lands to Lebanon.
In a visit on Saturday, a top-level Lebanese delegation gained Syria’s approval and commitment to the US-supported plan, which had previously been suggested by former Lebanese prime minister Saad Al-Hariri.
A day after his resignation in July over differences with President Michel Aoun, Hariri said Lebanon would save 50-60 percent of energy costs if it used gas in its power generating stations.
In August, Aoun affirmed the US’ approval to support Lebanon to import electricity from Jordan through Syria, a statement by the Lebanese Presidency read.
US Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea was cited by the statement as affirming ongoing negotiations with the World Bank to provide the funding required to purchase Egyptian gas, develop the electric transport lines, and fix the gas pipes.
According to Reuters, US senators who visited Lebanon this week discussed the complicating factor posed by the US’ sanctions on Damascus, which obstruct any effort to help Lebanon via Syria.
Lebanon’s energy crisis has been ongoing for a while, but it significantly worsened once its two main power plants, which had generated 40 percent of the country’s energy between them, were shut off in July due to fuel shortages.
A political vacuum has persisted in Lebanon for a year now, with the country scraping by without a government since Hassan Diab resigned as premier in August of last year.