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Interim solutions to the collapse of the electricity sector in Lebanon

Not a drop of Iranian fuel oil, promised on August 19 by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, has yet arrived in Lebanon. The maritime oil traffic monitoring site says it has identified two ships likely to contain fuel oil destined for the country of the Cedars. But the Lebanese authorities have not received any import requests from Shiite businessmen who allegedly bought the fuel oil. Anonymous sources have assured Reuters that the tankers will dock in Syria, from where their cargo will be trucked to Lebanon.

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“It’s anecdotal in terms of energy, but a winning move for Hassan Nasrallah. With this measured provocation towards the Americans, he is improving his image with the Lebanese ”, comments a foreign observer. Washington has already made it known that it will not apply sanctions for the few thousand tons of Iranian fuel oil that Hezbollah promises to distribute to hospitals and other institutions of public interest.

Iranian fuel oil will only relieve some private generators in the country for a few days, forced to run at idle due to fuel shortages, while the national company EDL only provides a few hours of electricity a day. Since the central bank tightened the screw – because it runs out of foreign exchange to subsidize imports of fuel oil that power plants – EDL’s output has fallen to 800 megawatts (mW), or less than half. of its capacities (1,800 mW), already insufficient during the summer peak (3,000 mW).

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Iraqi “donation”

Other temporary solutions are emerging to prevent the collapse of the sector. At the end of an agreement signed at the end of July, Baghdad will supply one million tonnes of fuel oil over a year, which will cover a third of EDL’s needs, in exchange for a line of credit – with deferred effect of one year – for health services, banking, tourism, etc. Unusable in Lebanon due to its high sulfur content, Iraqi fuel oil will be traded in installments on the market with compatible fuel. The Emirati company ENOC, which won the first tranche of this contract, is due to deliver 33,000 tonnes of diesel and 30,000 tonnes of “grade B” fuel oil in September. “It’s practically a donation from Baghdad. Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi wants to show that Iraq is a regional actor ”, says energy expert Yesar Al-Maleki.

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