Lebanon to sign electricity back up deal with Jordan

Lebanon to sign electricity back up deal with Jordan

/ News & Interviews / Monday, 24 January 2022 10:35

What comes as a relief to crisis-hit Lebanon, the country is set to sign a deal with Jordan this week to bring in electricity via Syria as a back-up for the heavy power cuts, the energy minister has said.

The agreement is part of a wider government effort to provide state power for eight to 10 hours a day, up from just two now in most parts of the country.

"The deal is important primarily because it will increase state power supply, which is cleaner and cheaper" than electricity produced by "expensive and polluting private generators", as per the minister.

A visiting Jordanian delegation would sign the deal in Beirut on Wednesday before heading to Damascus, where Jordanian and Lebanese officials are set to sign a transit agreement with Syria.

The deal will provide Lebanon with up to 250 megawatts of electricity during the day and 150 megawatts at night, equivalent to a total of two additional hours of power. Two years into Lebanon's economic meltdown, the cash-strapped state is struggling to purchase fuel for its power stations.

With state power effectively non-existent, many rely on private generators, but prices have increased after the government lifted fuel subsides.

Lebanon has been importing fuel oil from Iraq to operate its power plants in recent months. The government is also in talks with Egypt to import gas through the Arab Gas Pipeline, which passes through Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. Beirut and Cairo are currently finalising commercial agreements so that the two sides can sign a deal by spring, according to the minister.

By importing Jordanian electricity, Iraqi fuel and Egyptian gas, Lebanon hopes to boost power output to eight to 10 hours a day in the coming months.

Lebanon's crumbling electricity sector has cost the country more than $40 billion since the end of its 1975-1990 civil war.

The minister has added that importing electricity from Jordan will cost about $200 million per year, while importing gas from Egypt will cost about the same amount.

"We secured an initial $300 million from the World Bank and we are working to secure an additional $100 million," the minister has said.

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