Middle East

Qatar tries to help Lebanon in the fuel crisis-Doha News

The Minister of Energy states that the issue of Russia and Ukraine was not discussed at the high-profile conference.

Qatar’s energy minister, Saad Al-Kaabi, says his country is trying to help Lebanon in the fuel crisis.

“Lebanon is a very important country for our leadership and our heart as a nation and I think we have lost the opportunity due to the problems that have arisen. We have bid to enter Lebanon.” Al-Kaabi answers and says Doha News.

“We won the bids offered by Lebanon and others, but three to five years later. I personally went to Lebanon several times to discuss some issues.”

Al-Kaabi’s comments were announced at a press conference in Qatar following the 6th Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) Summit on Tuesday.

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The event was attended by 11 members of the forum and 7 observers at the invitation of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Tani.

Qatar and Lebanon were reportedly in talks last year to mitigate the electricity crisis in Beirut. The situation worsened after the 2020 Covid-19 outbreak and the tragic Beirut explosion.

Egypt’s Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Tariq El Mora, spoke with Arkabi and said his country is working to supply gas to Lebanon.

“We used to export Egyptian gas to Lebanon, but for the past decade this has stopped for obvious reasons. What we are currently doing for our friends in Lebanon is gas to Lebanon. We are preparing to resume exports, “El-Molla told Doha News.

Egypt used the Arab gas pipeline to supply gas to Lebanon until it faced what Elmora described as “political and technical” turmoil.

El Molla says the pipeline is currently being repaired to supply gas to Lebanon “in the coming weeks.” He explains that the factors that must be addressed in the process are commercial, contractual, and political.

“We are doing very well and I think the Lebanese have all the support and peace of mind they need. I think we will resume gas supply in the coming weeks,” says El Molla.

US-backed plans to mitigate the Lebanon electricity crisis include Egyptian gas flows using pipelines through Jordan and Syria. US Caesar law imposed on the Bashar al-Assad administration will require countries to detour them.

“The Egyptian solution is a quicker solution. We are trying to support LNG, but the LNG solution is a bit longer,” says Al-Kaabi.

Qatar states that in tensions between Russia and Ukraine, Europe’s gas supply alone cannot be met.

“In the long run, we are looking for ways to support Lebanon.”

Rising European gas prices

The event arose as tensions between Russia and Ukraine continued to rise and concerns about Europe’s energy supply increased.

In response to questions about Europe’s energy supply, Arkabi reiterates that the problem is not focused on the geopolitical tensions between Moscow and Kiev. Instead, he says it’s a matter of supply and demand.

“I think the issue of stability is a two-sided approach. We need stability of supply and stability of demand. The issue of energy prices in Europe started long before the issue of Ukraine.”

Energy officials also attribute Europe’s energy supply to a lack of investment in oil and gas.

“When we talk about LNG, it takes a long time to achieve. If you want to invest in LNG, you have to invest in the field itself …LNG is a very expensive business. “

Al-Kaabi states that it remains difficult to predict the impact of tensions between Russia and Ukraine on energy prices in Europe.

“When it comes to price forecasting, it’s in the hands of God, not mine. I can’t comment on the future.”

Qatar and the EU are reportedly in talks to secure Europe’s energy supply if Russia could invade Ukraine. The Minister of Energy argued that Gulf countries could not unilaterally close the potential gap in Europe’s gas supply.

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About sanctions

Iran is one of the members of the GECF and was the country that established the Forum alongside Qatar in 2001. Tehran remains subject to US sanctions after its withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal and is struggling to export oil and gas.

In response to questions about non-UN sanctions imposed on GECF members, Al-Kaabi states that this issue has nothing to do with the Forum.

“The politics of which country, how all sovereign countries treat other countries, or how they are treated, has nothing to do with the forum.”

Al-Kaabi said the issue of Russia and Ukraine was not discussed at the high-profile conference, adding that Qatar is trying to help other countries when needed.

“There is absolutely no discussion in this forum about anything related to politics.”
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