The Lebanese government has decided last Tuesday to honor its contract with Algerian state energy firm Sonatrach until the end of the year, despite the latest scandals rocking this file.
Just to give you a quick overview: Back in 2005, the Lebanese government signed a deal with the state-owned oil company of Algeria to provide us with fuel. However instead of importing the fuel directly from Sonatrach, two Lebanese companies were in charge of receiving then selling back the fuel to the Lebanese state.
Both companies were shut down and their owners have fled or are in hiding, and we’ve witnessed a lot of arrests, lawsuits and scandalous revelations in the past week, but despite all that, Diab’s government still wants to keep the contract going until end of year.
Why did they keep the contract going? Probably to avoid a fuel shortage that might cause severe blackouts across the country, but still the way it was announced, and how the fraudulent oil investigation is going, show that the government is not serious about unveiling the truth and letting justice prevail. Aren’t there other alternatives to look at to get fuel from somewhere else? Why can’t we organize new tenders? Negotiate new deals?
In all cases and if Sonatrach agrees to keep working with Lebanon after 2020, expect new “ghost” companies to show up to replace the old ones.