Lebanon urged to refine more oil

Lebanon should upgrade its two aging oil refineries in order to reduce prices, according to Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiyah, Qatar’s energy minister.

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By  Jyotsna Ravishankar Published  July 14, 2005

Lebanon should upgrade its two aging oil refineries in order to reduce prices and supply refined oil to the outside world, according to Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiyah, Qatar’s energy minister. The two oil refineries are currently non-operational despite offers from Iran and Algeria to upgrade the two refineries a few years ago. Lack of funds has repeatedly been stated as a reason for delay in the refinery upgrades. “Modernising the two oil refineries will allow the government to raise the output from 40,000 barrels a day to 150,000 [bpd],” Al Attiyah told the Arab Economic Forum in Beirut. But the Qatari minister declined to say if his government was willing to offer Lebanon aid to upgrade the refineries. In 1997, when Qatar offered to supply Lebanon with natural gas the government at the time did not respond and this was pointed out by Al Attiyah. He said that if Lebanon had switched to natural gas then, the government could have saved more than US $140 million a year. High prices of oil and fuel have plagued Lebanese consumers since the year 2003 and experts say if Lebanon refined oil, then prices could be markedly reduced. The government also slaps high taxes on the import of oil and gas, putting more financial pressure on businesspeople.

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