Report: Zahrani Power Plant Shuts Down over Fuel Shortage
A new crisis has been added to Lebanon’s multiple crises, with the country shutting down the Zahrani power plant in southern Lebanon after running out of diesel fuel to operate it, media reports said on Monday.
With the Zahrani plant completely shut down yesterday, Lebanon has entered a new phase of harsh power rationing, hitting the country at an already difficult time, and the lack of the necessary elements to produce electricity, al-Akhbar daily reported.
Two new predicaments have been added to Lebanon’s electricity problems. In the past weeks, power production in Lebanon was affected by the delay of the Central Bank in opening the necessary funds to import fuel, and by the delay of fuel ships in unloading the material, and by precautionary measures for the Electricity of Lebanon, said the daily.
On March 26, a diesel vessel coming from Kuwait was supposed to arrive at Zahrani Power Plant . But navigation in the Suez Canal stopped by a colossal container that got wedged. The fuel ship was late, which will continue indefinitely, meaning a lack of materials needed to operate the factory, it added.
The second problem is related to the type of diesel used. The imported diesel from Kuwait used to secure half of the factories’ diesel needs, for a period of three months following the end of the contract. Therefore, the Ministry of Energy proceeded to launch "Spot Cargo" tenders (immediate) to compensate for the shortage in the material.
Indeed, the ship “Histria Perla” arrived at the Lebanese shore, but it was not possible to unload.
According to "Electricity of Lebanon", there has been a change in the inspection method required by “Siemens” company, the manufacturer of the turbines, which differed from the previous contract with the Kuwaiti company, after the laboratories of the Bureau Veritas confirmed that it could not be applied.
Lebanon’s Ministry of Energy and Water, and EDL have tried to settle the dispute to no avail to this day.
These factors combined led to a drop in production to 900 MW, although EDL resorted to compensating for the shortfall by operating the Baalbek and Tyre plants.
The daily noted that production at Zahrani plant had previously been reduced in two stages to avoid a shutdown possibility. It reduced poduction from 450 MW to 225 megawatts, then to 120 megawatts in the last week, before it was finally turned off yesterday.