SIDON: The Director of the Al-Zahrani Electric Power Plant Hajj Ahmad Abbas revealed Saturday that the plant was just three days from having to end production, but for the arrival of Iraqi oil.
The first vessel supplied the plant with 16,000 tons, preventing it from total shutdown.
In a news conference held after the ship had unloaded half of its cargo of Iraqi government fuel, Abbas said "The importance is that this ship came at a critical time and at a time when there was only enough left for three days."
"We were 'ongoing' in total darkness."
Abbas further added that "this ship, despite its importance, is only sufficient to operate the plant for eight days at full capacity, or 16 days at half capacity. Therefore, the production capacity of the plant will remain as it is currently, until more ships arrive, which will enable us to operate the plant with greater capacity."
"Our people - as they have promised us - will understand, because the crisis is comprehensive in all of Lebanon, and we must have ships at such a pace that we can operate the plant at full capacity.
"This is the request of all the Lebanese, that we can obtain electricity for 24 hours."
Since 2019, Lebanon's economic crisis has engendered severe shortages of basic essentials, including fuel. Many people are having to rely on private generators for power, with government supplied electricity running for less than four hours a day in many areas. Both Iraq and Iran have shipped fuel to Lebanon over the recent weeks. The supplies have been, at times, controversial. On Friday Prime Minister Nijab Mikati said that Iranian fuel shipments, brokered by the Shiite group Hezbollah, violated Lebanese sovereignty. The United States has also said it will seek to help end Lebanon's fuel crisis, through the transfer of Egyptian natural gas via Jordan and Syria.
Abbas concluded by thanking Iraq, and thanking all those who contributed to the safe arrival of the fuel on both the Lebanese and Iraqi sides. He said he hoped that further ships would arrive at an accelerated pace.