As the expiration date of the Lebanese government’s contract with its fuel supplier grows nearer, caretaker Energy Minister Raymond Ghajar assured the public that there is no need to worry about Lebanon losing its electricity.
“There will not be darkness in Lebanon,” Ghajar stressed in a statement to LBCI, revealing that there are at least four solutions to the fuel situation currently being studied.
Lebanon has yet to secure an alternative to the Algerian supplier Sonatrach, the contract with which ends in 2 weeks.
In light of that, reports have pointed to Lebanon’s recent talks with Iraq to import crude oil as a possible solution to the fuel problem.
However, considering that Tripoli’s oil refinery needs maintenance – and that maintenance would take time – the efficiency of such a plan is questionable.
On that note, sources told Al-Joumhouria that Lebanon does not have the ability to refine Iraqi crude oil because its refineries are currently not operational.
Therefore, the proposition to import Iraqi oil represents, more so than a replacement to the missing contract, a new trade opportunity, as Iraq is offering Lebanon oil at encouraging prices with comfortable repayment dates, as per the same sources.
In such a case, Lebanon could then, instead of refining it, either trade it with international oil companies for usable fuel and diesel or hand it over to these companies to be refined and returned to Lebanon for a fee.