BEIRUT, Lebanon, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- Lebanese Energy Minister Gebran Bassil said he was soliciting bids for a liquefied natural gas plant to lower the nation's energy import bill.
Bassil, the caretaker minister, launched the solicitation to cut energy costs by $2 billion per year, the Daily Star reported Saturday.
"This is a strategic and important subject, and irrespective if we are a caretaker Cabinet, we should not stop pursuing such vital projects," the minister was quoted as saying.
Bassil said the savings would emerge because Lebanon would pay only for the natural gas from a new LNG facility and not the cost of building the facility itself.
He said the deadline for bids for the LNG plant is Dec. 23.
"We can sign the contracts in the third and fourth quarter of 2014," the minister said.
Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati resigned in March because of differences between the pro-western March 14 coalition and the March 8 slate, which includes Hezbollah. The government has yet to form a new Cabinet.