Lebanon, Syria, Egypt Sign Billion-Dollar Gas Deal
Lebanon and Syria signed an estimated one-billion-dollar deal Friday with Egypt to import Egyptian natural gas by ship across the Mediterranean for sale locally, regionally and in Europe, officials said.
The agreement calls for transporting the gas to Lebanon's northern port of Tripoli, as well as for the construction of a gas pipeline between Tripoli and Syria, they said.
The Egyptian gas will be sold in Lebanon and Syria and eventually re-exported for sale in Jordan and Turkey and in unspecified European countries, the added.
Egyptian Oil and Mineral Resources Minister Sameh Fahmi estimated the deal to be worth more than one billion dollars.
The agreement stipulates that two firms will be set up to oversee the import and sale of the Egyptian gas and that energy ministers in all three countries will have to approve the identity of any new potential clients.
Lebanese Electricity and Water Resources Minister Mohammad Abdel Hamid Baydoun described the deal as "one of the most important projects of Arab cooperation because it increases the economic capacities of the Arabs."
"The fact of having an gas pipeline linking Egypt to Europe will have very positive repercussions," Beydoun said.
The deal was signed in the presence of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, who reached agreement with the Egyptians in November to import the gas from the Egyptian coastal city of El Arish to Tripoli.
The Hariri-owned Al-Mustaqbal daily quoted Fahmi as saying on November 27 that Lebanon will "import from Egypt a daily volume of between six and nine million cubic meters (210 and 315 million cubic feet) of gas worth between 80 and 100 million dollars each year" -- BEIRUT (AFP)
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