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Jordan, Egypt and Syria agree to transfer gas to Lebanon

Action plan on the anvil for exporting Jordanian electricity to Lebanon — Zawati

By Batool Ghaith - Sep 09,2021 - Last updated at Sep 09,2021

Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Hala Zawati, Egyptian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek El Molla, Syrian Minister of Oil and Mineral Resources Bassam Tohme and Lebanese Minister of Energy and Water Raymond Ghajar hold a press conference in Amman on Wednesday (Petra photo)

AMMAN — Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon set a roadmap to deliver Egyptian gas to Lebanon through Jordan and Syria on Wednesday. 

The decision came during a ministerial meeting in Amman attended by Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Hala Zawati, Egyptian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek El Molla, Syrian Minister of Oil and Mineral Resources Bassam Tohme and Lebanese Minister of Energy and Water Raymond Ghajar. 

Lebanon has been reeling from an economic crisis since October 2019, which has resulted in power and fuel shortages.

During a press conference after the meeting, the ministers said that the four countries have started infrastructure assessment to resume pumping gas from Egypt to Lebanon after a 10-year hiatus.

Zawati noted that another meeting will be held within the next three weeks to develop an action plan for exporting Jordanian electricity to Lebanon.

The meeting will include representatives from Jordan, Syria and Lebanon,she added.

“Jordan will make efforts to assist our Lebanese brethren in overcoming the energy crisis as soon as possible, under the guidance of His Majesty King Abdullah,” Zawati said.

“There will be a clear picture of the agreements needed within three weeks,” she added.

She indicated that the pipeline has not been used for 10 years, adding that each country will need to bear the cost of the pipeline’s repairs in their territories. 

On the sidelines of the meeting, a number of technical meetings were held to discuss the status of infrastructure in the four countries.

Molla said that Egypt aims to expedite the arrival of Egyptian natural gas to Lebanon through Jordan and Syria, to support the Lebanese people and nation.

He cited the readiness of the infrastructure for pumping Egyptian gas, but that all the gas circulation facilities must be checked because they have not been used in 10 years.

“We developed a roadmap through the technical teams. During the next few weeks, it will be clear if all things are ready, so pumping can start as soon as possible,” Molla said.

Tohme said that the Arab Gas Pipeline project is one of the most important Arab cooperation initiatives. The memorandum of understanding for the project was signed in 2000 and Jordan joined in 2001. In 2003, the four founding countries outlined the project, he said.

The Syrian ministernoted that the pipeline’s infrastructure was subjected to terrorist acts in Syria and so needs to be examined before it can transit Egyptian gas to Lebanon.

Tohme said that the Syrian technical team is working with the other countries’ to make sure the gas transportation can begin soon.

The Lebanese minister, Ghajar, expressed his gratitude for the three countries’ initiative torevive the quadripartite agreement to transit Egyptian gas to Lebanon, through Jordan and Syria.

“Lebanon is in dire need of support for its vital sectors, especially electricity and the production and importation of natural gas. There is only one energy plant in Lebanon [Dair Ammar] equipped with gas,” Ghajar said.

He indicated that the plant can generate about 450 megawatts and provide more than four hours of electricity supply to the Lebanese citizens.

Ghajar added that this cooperation will lead to the revival of another agreement: To transit electricity from Jordan through Syria, which could be at a lower cost compared with the energy generated in Lebanon. 

Ghajar emphasised that this project would not have been possible without cooperation from the four countries and the World Bank’s support during the Lebanon’s challenging time. 

The technical teams, formed in the meeting, will study the agreement and make sure it is balanced between all countries.

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