No word yet from Lebanon's energy ministry on power-ship failures
Lebanon's Energy Ministry and the Turkish company operating the electricity barge refrained for a third day from making a public statement explaining the sharp drop in electricity production by the ship.
The public relations office of Karkey Karadeniz Elektrik Uretim told The Daily Star that its client had no intention of issuing a statement Friday to explain why the turbines suddenly stopped.
“I think the company and the Energy Ministry are trying to solve this problem quietly away from the media glare. The company hopes to solve this problem in one week or less. But the Turks don’t want to comment on this issue up till now,” one of the media offices of the company told The Daily Star.
Some news outlets have reported that the company sent a letter to the Energy Ministry saying the fuel oil that powers the turbines was of poor quality, warning that this could affect electricity production.
Under the $360 million, three-year contract signed by the Energy Ministry in 2012, the Lebanese government is responsible for supplying the fuel to operate the turbines.
Sources told The Daily Star that both the Turks and the ministry were trying to avoid any confrontation over the stoppage of the turbines.
Some politicians and experts have slammed caretaker Energy Minister Gebran Bassil for hiring the Turkish firm despite numerous reports that the company has previously faced lawsuits from Pakistan and other countries for failing to deliver the required electricity production from the barge.
Critics say that Bassil should have focused on construction of new power plants instead of leasing two electricity barges at a very high cost.
According to media reports, the barge is only producing 10 MW, compared to the 180 MW called for in the contract.