Egyptian Oil Minister Sameh Fahmi will visit Beirut later this week to sign an initial agreement allowing Lebanon to import gas from Egypt, officials told AFP.
Fahmi will seal the accord on Thursday with his Lebanese counterpart Mohamad Abdel Hamid Beydoun, in the presence of Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, they said.
The deal, reached by Hariri during his trip to Cairo last month, provides for Lebanon to import gas from the Egyptian coastal city of El Arish to the port of Tripoli in north Lebanon, before re-exporting it to Syria and Turkey.
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."
The Hariri government was also seeking another project aimed at importing oil from Iraq through Syria and from Iran through Iraq and Syria to allow Lebanon to re-export it to world markets.
On Friday, Beydoun announced that Beirut and Damascus agreed to promptly repair a pipeline to allow Lebanon to take advantage of Iraqi oil in the 'oil for food' programme, after a deal with Baghdad which should come in February.
Beydoun said the Syrian-Lebanese technical committee decided to start repair work so the pipeline, which has been out of action for more than 15 years, can be tested by the end of January.
"The operation which is not technically complicated should cost two to three million dollars," he said.—AFP.
©--Agence France Presse.
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)