This article was published in LOGI's July 2020 newsletter in partnership with Kulluna Irada.
Lebanon has ramped up efforts to import fuel via country-to-country agreements with Iraq and Kuwait in an effort to resolve a fuel shortage crisis that will deepen at the end of the year when a current import contract ends.
Prime Minister Hassan Diab discussed the import of Iraqi fuel with a delegation led by the country’s Oil Minister, Ihsan Abdul Jabbar Ismail, in early July.
In mid-july, General Security chief Abbas Ibrahim visited Kuwait and discussed potential fuel imports with officials there. "We want to purchase 100% of our requirements from Kuwait without going through agents or companies looking to make a profit ... I hope there will be no obstacles to it," Local newspaper Al Rai quoted Ibrahim as saying.
As of the date of publishing, no agreements have been reached.
Importing fuel into Lebanon has been made difficult due to an acute dollar shortage in the country in addition to the government’s decision in March to default on its sovereign debt repayments, which has created “difficulties” in securing the approval of transactions by international banks, according to Energy Minister Raymond Ghajar.
Lebanon has for some 15 years been importing fuel for its power plants under a contract with Algerian state company Sonatrach. However, a corruption case involving shipments of sub-standard fuel to Lebanon led the company to say it would not renew its contract at the end of the year.
Some 30 people have been indicted in the case, including top level officials such as Oil Installations director Sarkis Hleis, and the Director of Oil at the Energy Ministry, Auror Feghali.
Photo Source: The Daily Star