Al-Akhbar: A harsh electric rationing until the fuel ships arrived

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Elie Ferzli- News –

The darkness that Lebanon is currently witnessing is due to the late arrival of the fuel ships. This necessitated reducing electricity production in anticipation of any additional delays. Although it is expected that things will return to normal with the stability of purchases through the Spot Cargo mechanism, this will not be sufficient to ensure stability in the feed. High international oil prices mean that the billions of dollars in advance allocated to Lebanon’s Electricity will not be sufficient to provide fuel within a year. Therefore, legalization will be the only option before the institution, even in the event that the BDL is committed to the opening dates of credits

Instead of doubling the electricity supply in light of the storm in the country to meet the needs of the people for heating, all regions are witnessing harsh legalization. The Minister of Energy was reassured that darkness would not come. But everything after that indicates that darkness is a reality. The reason is always there. Lack of fuel, late opening of credits and delayed shipments. Any of these reasons is reflected in the increase in Lebanon’s electricity for hours of rationing, to ensure that we do not have to completely shut down the factories. This time, the cutoff was due to the failure of the diesel steamer assigned to the Zahrani and Deir Ammar factories to arrive on schedule. The Kuwaiti ship was supposed to arrive on the 22nd of this month, but it turned out that it would be late. Soon, the decision was taken to shut down half of the turbines at Al Zahrani Factory. Therefore, 225 MW was removed from the grid, until the arrival of the charge. This is in addition to the continued reduction in the production of the ships by about 100 megawatts (from 380 megawatts to 270 megawatts) while waiting for the unloading of the grade B fuel oil vessel, which is expected to arrive this evening, but needs days to be able to unload (until a sample is sent for examination in Dubai and to make sure of The shipment conforms to the specifications). In addition to what happened, the reduction of production in the Zouk and Jiyyeh factories is continuing, as they need spare parts and oils waiting for dollars. Practically all this led to a significant decrease in feeding hours. However, concerned sources believe that matters will stabilize more after the process of buying fuel is organized through Spot Cargo (buying shipments without long-term agreements and contracts with the supplier companies), especially since at the present time, reliance has become completely on this mechanism to secure the need for electricity plants from fuel (Except for a monthly diesel shipment that still arrives from Kuwait).

The main problem, according to concerned sources, is that even if the fuel is secured, the EDL dictates that rationing should continue. The advance of the treasury allocated to the corporation amounts to one billion dollars annually (one thousand and 500 billion pounds transferred through the Banque du Liban into the dollar). This advance, if it was surpassed by the institution’s needs in 2020, as a result of the significant drop in fuel prices, which reached 20 dollars per barrel, it is expected, in the year The current situation is that it is not sufficient to secure the institution’s need (million tons of Grade B fuel oil, one million tons of Grade A fuel oil, and one million tons of diesel), especially since the price of oil has now reached $ 64 per barrel. This leads to two options, either to increase rationing, to allow the budget allocated for the fuel to suffice until the end of the year, or to continue feeding at the maximum capacity (if there are no obstacles related to the delay of shipments or the delay in opening the credits from the Banque du Liban, or its refusal to secure all maintenance and operation requirements) , With what that means in terms of access to extinguishing the plant as the billion dollars run out.

In addition, it seems that the crisis that the Central Bank of Lebanon created by refusing to finance the electricity sector before presenting a clear strategy for the sector is nearing its end, at least with regard to securing the funds necessary for the continuation of the “Prime South” company in operating and maintaining the factories of Deir Ammar and Zahrani. The company had requested 75 percent of its dues in fresh dollars, as a condition of extending the contract for one year, given its need to conduct regular maintenance of the turbines (through the manufacturers). In the meeting held by President Hassan Diab at the Grand Serail, last Saturday, attended by the Minister of Energy and Finance, in addition to the governor of the Banque du Liban, he asked the company to continue working, in exchange for a promise to deal with the issue of its dues with the Banque du Liban within a week. Indeed, EDL, commissioned by the Minister of Energy, completed a file detailing what was required to employ the teachers of Deir Ammar and Zahrani and handed it over to the Minister of Energy, who in turn handed it over to the Banque du Liban.

According to the information, the American company agreed to reduce the percentage it requests in dollars. After she had requested 80 percent of the contract value in fresh dollars (61 million dollars), and then reduced the percentage to 75 percent in the first negotiations with “Electricity of Lebanon”, an additional reduction was agreed with her, and it was agreed that the cash dollar ratio would reach 70 percent of the Total contract value.

Indeed, the matter was raised at the meeting of the Central Council of the Bank of Lebanon the day before yesterday. The sources of the Ministry of Energy indicated that the atmosphere was positive, and the bank had a tendency to pay, but it was late in approval, pending some documents requested by the competent committee to complete the file.

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