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Beirut is preparing to invite companies to bid on a liquefied natural gas pipeline, the Lebanese Energy Ministry said.

Power blackouts in Lebanon can last as long as 15 hours each day with nearly one-quarter of the country’s electricity lost to theft, the Energy Ministry said.

Beirut aims to overhaul its energy sector under a June plan that calls for a decrease in the use of heavy fuels in favor of liquefied natural gas. The plan includes a move to exploit offshore natural gas deposits, though officials said those plans are a few years off.

Raymond Ghajar, a top adviser to the Lebanese Energy Ministry, said an invitation to build an LNG pipeline in the country was on the agenda for next month.

“Invitation to tender for the pipeline will be before the end of the year,” he told Bloomberg News. “It should be in November.”

Most of the LNG would come from Qatar, he added. The imports would fuel the country’s energy sector while it waits for offshore deposits to come on stream.

“We plan to have a working LNG terminal by 2012,” he added. UPI

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