Iraq’s deal to supply heavy fuel oil (HFO) to Lebanon is taking a new twist. Sources in Baghdad tell MEES that the Erbil-based Kar Group has been tipped as “possible contractor” to transport 1mn t/y (18,000 b/d) of Iraqi HFO to Lebanon as part of a government-to-government agreement. This comes after an initial 500,000 t/y offering (MEES, 16 April) under a proposed oil-for-services agreement was doubled by Iraqi PM Mustafa Al-Kadhimi last week (MEES, 11 June 2021). With details yet to be finalized amid political resistance in Baghdad, the deal may yet come unstuck.
Payment terms are the obvious stumbling block. Local media reports quoting unnamed politicians in Iraq show that attempts to barter the HFO with pharmaceuticals or medical services (another option was fruits) have failed. Amongst other issues, Lebanon is a major net importer of both medicines and food, and its economic crisis means that it faces shortages. (CONTINUED - 392 WORDS)