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Fire at gasoline tank at Lebanon's southern Zahrani city contained: prime minister


Cause of fire will be investigated, PM's media office says

Cash-strapped Lebanon plunged into darkness due to fuel shortages

Plants to import Jordanian electricity, Egyptian gas via Syria

A fire that broke out Oct. 11 at a gasoline tank at the Zahrani oil installations in southern Lebanon has been contained, the prime minister's media office said on Twitter, days after the country plunged into darkness due to a lack of fuel for power plants.

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The cause of the fire at the gasoline tank, which belongs to the Lebanese army, will be investigated, according to the Twitter post quoting energy minister Walid Fayyad.

The fire comes a few days after Lebanon's main power plants in Zahrani and Deir Ammar in the north ran out of fuel as the cash-strapped government struggles to buy feedstock for its facilities.

Iraq agreed this year to sell Lebanon 1 million mt/year of heavy fuel oil in return for goods and services, which will help OPEC's second-biggest producer reduce a surplus of the commodity.

Because Iraq's fuel oil doesn't meet specifications of its power plants, Lebanon will resell the Iraqi fuel and use the proceeds to buy spot cargoes of fuel that is compatible with its facilities, Lebanon's former energy and water minister Raymond Ghajar said July 24.

One million mt/year of fuel would meet around a third of Lebanon's needs, he said at the time.

Lebanon is suffering from severe power outages due to the financial crisis gripping the country, which relies on imported oil products for electricity generation.

Lebanon also plans to import electricity from Jordan via Syria to help alleviate its power outages.

Egypt has agreed on an initial road map to export gas to Lebanon via Syria and Jordan, the countries' energy ministers said Sept. 8, as Beirut seeks to avert power outages and fuel oil shortages.

Egypt, which already pumps gas to Jordan, will need to ensure infrastructure and facilities are ready to export gas to Lebanon, Egypt's Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Tarek El Molla, told a news conference in Amman, Jordan, alongside his counterparts from Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.