The giant Russian oil company Rosneft is set to soon start storing oil reserves in a specially built storage facility at the northern port of Tripoli. Caretaker Energy Minister Cesar Abi Khalil Friday signed a contract allowing the oil company to rehabilitate, expand and operate oil storage facilities at the port.
The agreement allows Rosneft to take over the operation of the facilities for 20 years.
The takeover will include a rehabilitation project, which will create 450,000 metric tons of storage facilities in its first phase, Abi Khalil said in a televised news conference.
“It would likely be expanded to 2 million or 1.5 million [metric tons] in the future,” he added.
Rosneft announced the agreement in a statement Thursday.
The company’s CEO Igor Sechin said: “We hope for further expansion of cooperation with Lebanon and for the implementation of other potential projects in the oil and gas sector in this country.”
The minister said that back in the 1980s, oil facilities in Tripoli were only designed to supply fuel oil to the local market only.
“This project was established in 2010 when studies were conducted on the possibility of developing oil facilities. [Caretaker Foreign] Minister Gebran Bassil launched the tender in 2011, but the rounds of violence that took place in Tripoli at that time led to the lack of interest from companies,” Abi Khalil told reporters.
One senior official told The Daily Star Lebanon will only build the storage facility, with the Russian firm using it to store oil.
He added that many international companies took part in the tender and eventually Rosneft won the contract. The official explained that Lebanon will get a cut from Rosneft storing the oil.
But the official declined to say how much Lebanon would generate from this project.
Abi Khalil said that today, the situation is better under this government and presidency.
He added the government fulfilled its promise and completed the tender for this project in May 2017.
“We discussed the contract we signed with Rosneft. This contract will allow us to develop the facilities. It will provide additional revenue for the facilities. It will also serve as a strategic deposit on the Lebanese land of oil derivatives,” Abi Khalil said.
Abi Khalil added that this project is part of the broader vision of the oil sector and the oil sector in general, as well as other projects, whether in the reception of liquid gas or the reconstruction of refineries.
The Daily Star