(Photo credit: Aziz Taher/Reuters)
Lebanon and Iraq have agreed on a new fuel contract that will see Baghdad boost the amount of fuel it provides to Lebanese power plants under pre-existing energy agreements between the two countries.
“The Iraqi Council of Ministers agreed to increase the donation of Iraqi fuel to Lebanon from one million tons to one and a half million tons,” Lebanon’s Minister of Labor, Moustafa Bayram, said in an initial announcement via Twitter on 16 May.
خبر إيجابي 💐
يسرني أن أعلن أنني تلقيت إتصالا من الصديق وزير العمل العراقي أحمد الأسدي شكرنا فيه على حسن الاستقبال والتعاون ؛ وأبلغني أن مجلس الوزراء العراقي وافق على زيادة هبة الفيول العراقية إلى لبنان من مليون طن إلى مليون ونصف المليون طن …
— Moustafa Bayram | مصطفى بيرم (@BayramMoustafa) May 16, 2023
This comes around a week after a visit to Lebanon by Iraqi Minister of Labor, Ahmed al-Asadi.
“I received a call from my friend, the Iraqi Minister of Labor, Ahmed al-Asadi, in which he thanked us for the kind reception and informed me” of the decision, Bayram added.
In a statement confirmed by the office of the Iraqi prime minister, Lebanese Energy Minister Walid Fayyad said on Thursday 17 May that “all remaining quantities in the current agreement to supply Lebanon will be delivered in four shipments, between July and October, and will include double the monthly amount of fuel currently received.”
The fuel supply has been renewed for a third year “under the current conditions, but with an increase of 50 percent of the annual quantity supplied, reaching 1.5 million tons of fuel oil,” Fayyad added.
Additionally, the two countries agreed to sign a new deal that will see “up to 2 million tons of fuel, which will be exchanged according to specifications set by EDL (Lebanon’s state power company) in a transparent process and under flexible conditions,” according to the Lebanese Energy Ministry.
Lebanon has been mired in a severe energy crisis since the country began lifting subsidies on fuel in 2021.
Lebanon and Iraq have signed a number of energy agreements aimed at alleviating the crisis.
Meanwhile, Washington has continued to prohibit Lebanon from receiving Iranian fuel – while continuing to block an energy-sharing deal that the US had itself put forward to counter offers from the Islamic Republic.