Saturday, October 16, 2021

Ambiguity surrounds the fate of the “crude oil” agreement between Lebanon and Iraq

Lebanon is officially informed of the decision of the Iraqi Council of Ministers about doubling the amount of oil that the Iraqi government had approved for Lebanon, from 500,000 tons to one million tons annually.

The Iraqi Council of Ministers had voted unanimously to support Lebanon with crude oil and to increase it from 500 thousand tons to one million tons, with a promise that the decision would be implemented as quickly as possible, given the urgent need for this support to Lebanon, because it is going through unusual circumstances.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun thanked officials in Iraq for the decision to double the amount of crude oil allocated to his country, through a tweet published by the official account on Twitter.

In Lebanon as well as outside it, observers see in the proposed deal a factional benefit that secures the continuity of the ruling system and postpones its complete collapse when it will be unable to provide basic services such as electricity and oil, especially since the agreement does not represent a sustainable plan but rather a temporary solution that carries with it more political goals than is in the interest of the citizens.

In the morning, oil expert Anas Al-Hajji tweeted on his Twitter account, commenting, “What does Michel Aoun mean by oil? If he means crude oil, there are no refineries in Lebanon, so how can refining take place, and if he means gasoline or diesel, Iraq does not export either of them.”

Al-Hajji added, “The only thing that remains is fuel oil, and this means the most inferior type of fuel oil, which is prohibited from being used in many countries of the world.”

The Lebanese Parliament had approved at the end of March a loan to purchase fuel needed to generate electricity representing 500,000 tons of oil, about 3.5 million barrels, i.e. the volume of Iraq’s daily oil exports. The agreement also includes “cooperation in the field of hospital management and medical training.” Lebanese experts and specialized medical teams will participate in it, which will contribute to the management of new institutions and “medical cities” in Iraq, according to what the National News Agency reported in mid-April.


The Lebanese expert in the field of oil and gas and director of the Institute for Governance of Natural Resources, Dr. Laurie Haytayan told: “Sky News Arabia” that all this agreement is nothing but a “patching” of the problem that Lebanon suffers from in terms of its oil needs.

She added: “Between finding a way to import its oil needs directly, and between importing crude oil with certain facilities, and then looking for someone to repeat it for him and have to meet Iraq’s needs for medical services, while Lebanon already needs those services and is unable to secure its needs of equipment and medical staff that it needs.” migrate and a near-collapse of the health sector.”

“How can Lebanon provide medical services to Iraq when there is no medicine or a hospital bed for a patient?” asked Haytayan.

“The agreement is basically not appropriate, neither for Lebanon nor for Iraq, and there is ambiguity surrounding it,” Haitian said.

And she added, “There is confusion over what will come to us from Iraq. Is it crude oil or is it fuel? And if crude oil arrives, how will it be repeated?”

She added: “The problem with Iraqi fuel is that it contains 4% sulfur, and what is used in Lebanon must contain 1%, but if the importer is crude oil, we cannot benefit from it effectively, as it requires research on the way in which Lebanon will refine it.” The oil refineries in Lebanon are out of order, which requires securing a way to refine it outside Lebanon, either in Iraq or through a third party.

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