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Lebanon faces complete black-out by end of September

President appeals to UN General Assembly for help

petrol-pump-fail-reading-lebanon-ap A screen on a gasoline pump reads, "Fail," after the latest increase in fuel prices with most meters unable to accommodate the new five digit price for one liter of gas, in Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021 | AP Photo/Hussein Malla

Lebanon’s state electricity company has warned that the country may face a “total blackout” by the end of September due to its dwindling fuel reserves. This is despite a deal with Iraq in July that allowed for 1 million tonnes of heavy fuel—unusable in Lebanon but suitable for trade and exchange.

On Tuesday, the energy agency said Lebanon’s reserves of both Grade A and Grade B fuel oil have reached a “critical point” and already run out for some plants that have stopped production. A single litre of gas now costs five-digit figures in Lebanon, according to AP.

"The network already experienced total blackouts across the country seven times and if this continues there is a high risk of reaching total and complete blackout by end of September," the statement said.

Earlier this week, a parliament session had to begin late due to a power cut. Lebanon’s President has appealed to the United Nations for help. "We are relying on the international community to fund vital projects, whether in the public or private sector, in order to revive the economic cycle and create new job opportunities," he told the UN General Assembly on Friday.

Less than 500MW of power can be generated from the fuel secured through the deal with Iraq. However, Lebanon may get oil from other sources.

A week ago, Hezbollah arranged for fuel from Iran to be brought into the country. When the tankers arrived, they were showered with flowers, Reuters reported. However, US sanctions on Iranian oil sales remain, and Lebanon may have risked courting these, though Washington has yet to comment on whether it would take action. A second ship loaded with diesel arrived on Thursday evening.

In addition, Iran’s ambassador had said Tehran was ready to build two power plants for Lebanon.

Following the shipments, the US said it was working closely with the governments of Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon as well as with the World Bank to find sustainable solutions for Lebanon's fuel and energy needs.

Egypt had promised to delivered natural gas to Lebanon through Jordan and Syria within three months but was waiting for some “procedures” to be completed.

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