Lebanon’s Ministry of Energy denied on Sunday Israeli media reports about Tel Aviv signing an agreement to export Israeli natural gas to Lebanon.
“The current gas supply agreement signed with Egypt clearly and explicitly states that the gas should be Egyptian,” the ministry said.
The Lebanese Energy ministry said in a press statement that Egypt, which has large quantities of gas, will provide Lebanon with “a small part of its production,” noting that the gas will pass through Jordan, then to Syria, and from there it will be transported to Lebanon.
“A parallel supply of gas fields and systems will be provided in Homs, according to the transit and exchange agreement, to reach Deir Ammar station in northern Lebanon,” the statement said.
“What is being said — that the gas will be Israeli — is completely untrue.”
Israeli media said Tel Aviv signed an agreement to pump gas to Lebanon via Jordan and Syria, noting that the deal was done “in secret” over the weekend, with US approval and coordination with Russia.
According to the Times of Israel, the agreement was brokered by Amos Hochstein, Washington’s special envoy and coordinator for International Energy Affairs, and explained that “Israel will witness the transfer of gas from the Leviathan offshore field to Jordan, and from there to Syria and then Lebanon.”
“The move will require the repair and extension of a gas pipeline flowing from Syria to Lebanon, which could take several years,” the report said, noting that “the agreement is aimed in part at providing Lebanon with gas instead of Iran.”
Lebanon is experiencing an unprecedented financial crisis, as the currency has lost about 90% of its value, and it has faced a crisis of frequent power outages over the past months due to fuel shortages.
The energy ministers of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan agreed in a meeting in the Jordanian capital Amman last September on a roadmap to supply Lebanon with Egyptian natural gas under a US-backed plan to ease Lebanon’s electricity crisis.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, during his meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati on 10 January, stressed Cairo’s readiness to help Beirut in the crises it is going through, expressing “Egypt’s readiness to contribute to the delivery of Egyptian gas in accordance with the signed treaties,” and gave his directions “to facilitate the matter and accelerate its implementation.”
In late December 2021, a Lebanese presidential statement said repairs to a gas pipeline were expected to be completed by the end of February, allowing Egyptian gas to reach Lebanon.