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Monday, January 24, 2022

Qatar, Lebanon ramp up talks to provide gas amid fuel crisis


The latest talks come as Lebanon seeks cooperation in the field of oil and gas as it scrambles to secure fuel. 

Lebanon’s Energy Minister Walid Fayad discussed with his Qatari counterpart Saad bin Sherida Al Kaabi ways to secure gas for Lebanese electricity plants during a meeting in Doha on Tuesday. 

“With regard to securing gas for electricity plants, it was agreed on the importance of gasification of Qatari liquefied gas to feed the Electricité du Liban Corporation,” Fayad’s media office said in a statement following the meeting, held amid a severe power crisis in the Lebanese Republic.  

“It was also agreed that the easiest way to do so would be through the gasification of liquefied gas in a place other than Qatar. The Aqaba area in Jordan was chosen for this process to take place, after which the gas would be transported to the north of Lebanon via Syria,” it added. 

In order to proceed, a Jordanian approval is required to start gasification of Qatari liquefied gas in Aqaba near the Red Sea.

“Minister Fayad has started discussions thereon with his Jordanian counterpart,” the office stated, noting that “talks are positive, and should be followed by practical implementation agreements to be concluded between the two sides.”

Read also: Qatar in talks with Lebanon to provide LNG amid fuel crisis

The meeting also touched on the issue of Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU) stations, which the Lebanese side stressed needs a strategy to identify the location, number and sizes of the stations. 

“Minister Fayyad sensed Qatari interest in following up on this issue through the possibility of supplying liquefied gas and gasification services, and the Vice President of Qatar Energy Company for Commercial Affairs was appointed to follow up on this topic,” the office said. 

On the issue of oil and gas exploration in exclusive economic waters, the source said Qatar is expecting positive outcomes “after the completion of drilling in Block 10 in Cyprus, and on its basis the extent of Qatari interest in oil and gas exploration in Lebanon and the extent to which there are opportunities to contribute to this will be determined.”

While Qatari and Jordanian authorities have yet to comment on the matter, Lebanese media said officials in Doha expressed interest in cooperating in the energy and gas strategy as well as providing assistance to help Lebanon in other areas.

Fayyad said that “this solution to the energy shortage crisis in Lebanon is in addition to the expected solution from Egyptian gas, which will be transported through Syria via the Arab line.”

Last October, Fayyad discussed with the Chargé d’Affairs of the Qatari Embassy in Beirut Ali Al-Mutawa, cooperation in the fields of oil and gas and the possibility of supporting  Lebanon with LNG.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun also visited Qatar this week as per an invitation from Sheikh Tamim on the occasion of the first ever FIFA Arab Cup 2021.

He met Sheikh Tamim in the Amiri Diwan office on Monday, where the two discussed bilateral relations on the sidelines of the tournament.

Aoun sought investment in different infrastructure projects, including electricity, which is cut for much of the day in Lebanon.

The Gulf state hosts one of the largest natural gas reserves in the world and has been a major investor in Lebanon in previous years.

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