Syria, Lebanon to Rehabilitate Iraqi Pipeline Link

November 19, 2000 - 0:0
DAMASCUS Syria and Lebanon agreed on Friday to rehabilitate a branch of the Iraqi-Syrian oil pipeline which used to carry Iraqi oil through Syria to the Lebanese northern port city of Tripoli.
An official told Reuters the agreement was reached at talks between Syrian Prime Minister Mohammed Mustafa Mero and his Lebanese counterpart Rafik al-Hariri.
The sector of the Syrian-Iraqi oil pipeline links oil facilities in the Syrian city of Homs, some 160 km (100 miles) north of Damascus and Tripoli. It has been closed for nearly two decades, said the official, who took part in the talks.
"Agreement was reached to start the rehabilitation of the Syrian-Lebanese branch of the Iraqi pipeline which carries oil from Iraq's Kirkuk oilfields to the Syrian port of Baniyas on the Mediterranean," he said.
Speaking to reporters after the talks, Hariri said Lebanon had an interest in rehabilitating the link.
Syria and Iraq agreed in 1998 to reopen the pipeline, which had been closed since 1982. Iraq is under United Nations sanctions, imposed 10 years ago over its invasion of Kuwait, and its oil exports come under a four-year-old oil-for-food program.
The official said that Syria and Lebanon also agreed to speed up implementing a deal through which Damascus would supply Lebanon with 1.1 billion cubic meters of gas per year to feed its power plants.
According to the deal, signed in 1998, a pipeline would be built to carry about three million cubic meters of Syrian gas per day to feed the electricity generation plants on the Lebanese coast.
The amount could be increased in accordance with Lebanon's needs and Syria's gas production capacity.
Syria produces around 18 million cubic meters of gas per day.
Most of it is used to feed Syrian electricity generation plants.
It also produces 600,000 barrels of crude oil per day of which some 320,000 bpd is exported to the oil market.
Hariri said the deal was in Lebanon's favor, providing it with the cheapest available gas.
"We in Lebanon have an interest to buy the Syrian gas because Syria is the nearest country to Lebanon and this reduces the cost of shipping the gas and makes the deal feasible," Hariri said.