In a strange saga even by Lebanese standards, Prime Minister Saad Hariri somehow convinced Algeria’s Sonatrach this week to provide state-run Electicite du Liban (EdL) with two cargoes of fuel oil, free of charge, to help avert an imminent power crisis. The two tankers had been moored offshore since 26 October because the Lebanese government, embroiled in a six-month standoff over cabinet formation, could not get the finance ministry to release the $420mn needed to purchase the fuel.

Over 50% of Lebanon’s power stations are powered by fuel oil—including the Turkish powerships that provide a combined 370 MW. Even with costly imports and reliance on powerships, Lebanon still suffers daily power cuts that force citizens to resort to diesel generators (MEES, 6 July). (CONTINUED - 171 WORDS)