We have the Gas but we don’t have the Power

In recent Lebanese news two stories have been relatively controversial when it comes to internal affairs. The protests to the power outages due to the vast electricity cuts the Lebanese public has been suffering from for decades. On the other hand, surprisingly, experts made the biggest off shore natural gas reserve discovery of this millennium. Why would a country with such proficiency in natural gas have such a huge power and economic crisis?

The struggling Lebanese people have been suffering from electricity problems for decades now. In central Beirut the electricity is off for 3 hours a day in a range between 6 AM and 6 PM, which can be tolerated, but as soon as you leave central Beirut it gets worse, some areas spend up to 12 hours a day without electricity and many cannot afford alternative power sources.

In 2010, experts found a 25 trillion cubic feet reserve of natural gas in the south-western part of Lebanon just by the borders with the occupied lands of northern Palestine. The reserve extends over the borders but with major parts in Lebanese sea, which puts its fate in the hands of the Lebanese authorities.



Where is the problem one might ask? And for someone who is not very aware of Lebanese internal politics might think that this is a huge step forward in Lebanese industry and economy. The problem is, that just like any Lebanese government institution, it should be divided according to religion and sects. In most “democratic” countries, when forming a fuel committee, the government calls in the country’s finest in economy, finance, engineering and administration. But in Lebanon they asked Lebanese political parties to agree on a Shia Muslim, a Sunni Muslim, an orthodox Christian, a catholic Christian, a Maronite Christian and a Druz who shouldn’t have an expertise in any form of natural gas management, but have the confidence of their religions political leader.

Such a solution might seem to be the best for Lebanon to preserve internal security, but how long is this pact going to last and hoe successful will these delegates be? Only time will tell. Because once again Lebanese political leaders have showed that it’s their own interest which comes first and not the one of the people.


3 thoughts on “We have the Gas but we don’t have the Power

  1. What in the world does religion have to do with power supply management? They should select people based on experience and expertise. It is ridiculous that religion is such a dominant political issue that instability is allowed to result from it.

    It is the management of energy alone that has led to the energy shortage or are there other causes?

  2. This is very interesting David! I’m wondering if the power outages can also be attributed to poor maintenance of the electrical grid as well? From my perspective it is very clear that the people leading the power supply management and this new source of wealth for Lebanon should be first and foremost for the improvement and efficient use of the natural gas instead of putting their religions first.

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