BEIRUT: The Energy Ministry will start receiving bids for the construction of offshore LNG import terminals next week and will wrap up the tender in 100 days, Energy Minister Gebran Bassil said Wednesday.
The usage of imported LNG to produce electricity should be possible by 2015, Bassil told reporters at a news conference at the Energy Ministry headquarters in Beirut.
Once the construction of the import terminal known as the Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU) is completed, Lebanon could save more than $1 billion in spending on its energy bill, Bassil added.
Thirteen companies are expected to bid for the construction of FSRU or the import of LNG or both.
Bassil said the FSRU, which would be used to store imported LNG, would provide natural gas to Deir Amar power plant, which currently runs on gas oil.
The use of natural gas rather than gas oil would dramatically cut the energy bill at Deir Amar power plant by up to $200 million a year, according to Bassil.
Lebanon has four power plants – Deir Amar, Zahrani, Tyre and Baalbek – already equipped to operate using natural gas but which are currently running on gas oil.
New units equipped to operate on natural gas are expected to be added to Beddawi, Zouk and Jiyyeh power plants.
Bassil added that the Energy Ministry also plans to build a coastal gas pipeline from Beddawi to Tyre.
The coastal gas pipeline could be used to provide natural gas to the remaining power plants, industrial plants, household heating and home appliances.