BEIRUT — Energy ministers from Lebanon, Egypt, Syria and Jordan agreed on a road map Wednesday to supply Egyptian natural gas to ease Lebanon’s electricity crisis, which was brought on by severe fuel shortages.
Here’s what we know so far:
• Lebanon hopes to get enough gas to generate 450 MW of electricity, the country’s outgoing energy minister, Raymond Ghajar, said at a press conference after a meeting with his counterparts in Amman on Wednesday.
• Ghajar said that Lebanon was working with the World Bank to secure funding for the deal. In August, US Ambassador Dorothy Shea indicated that negotiations with the World Bank for financing were underway.
• Egypt’s petroleum minister said he hoped to begin exporting gas to Lebanon as soon as possible.
• The press conference came after Ghajar met with his Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian counterparts to discuss a work plan for transporting natural gas to Lebanon and iron out logistical, technical and financial details of the potential project.
• The plan is part of a US-coordinated initiative with Egypt and Jordan to help alleviate countrywide power cuts in Lebanon by delivering natural gas via the Arab Gas Pipeline, which runs from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
• Lebanon is currently facing blackouts of up to 22 hours per day due to the state’s inability or unwillingness to purchase fuel through regular procedures.
• The plan to import Egyptian gas faces several potential hurdles, including funding, American sanctions against Syria and the state of the pipeline infrastructure, which may need repairs.
• No further details were immediately available regarding the road map agreed to on Wednesday.