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Turkey ready to supply Lebanon with electricity

Oct 25, 2010 - The Daily Star, Beirut - McClatchy-Tribune

Turkey showed readiness to provide Lebanon with electricity immediately and supply it with natural gas to operate some of the power stations in 15 months, Turkey's Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said Wednesday.

"We are ready to supply Lebanon with electricity immediately and with natural gas in 15 months through Syrian territories. But all this depends on the technical and logistic capabilities," Yidiz said after meeting his Lebanese counterpart Jibran Bassil.

Bassil went to Turkey to explore the possibility of buying electricity and natural gas from Ankara.

Lebanon has been holding talks with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iran in a bid to secure electricity to reduce rationing.

Bassil presented a $5 billion plan to build 4,000 MW of power plants over the next four years. But experts argue that this ambitious plan will remain a pipedream if the money is not secured in the immediate future.

At present, Lebanon's total electricity output is less than 1,600 MW while demand is more than 2,400 MW.

Iran said it was ready to help Lebanon address the chronic electricity problem and was even ready to provide soft loans to build gas-operated stations.

The Turkish minister said that both Lebanon and Turkey have agreed on a number of measures and steps to secure electricity but no further details emerged from these talks.

Bassil stressed that the meeting is in the context of mutual cooperation with Turkey and is part of the regional power grid that links Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Turkey.

He added that other countries, such as Egypt and Iraq, may join the electricity connection in the future. -- The Daily Star


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