Iraq in Talks with Iran to Increase Natural Gas Imports, Ministry Says

Iraq in Talks with Iran to Increase Natural Gas Imports, Ministry Says

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The Iraqi Ministry of Electricity says it is in talks with Iran to increase natural gas imports from its eastern neighbor, as Baghdad prepares to open new natural gas-fired power plants.

According to Ahmad al-Ebadi, a ministry spokesman, the volume of gas imports from Iran is currently at 43 million cubic meters, while Iraq requires 55-60 million cubic meters of the energy source.

The Iraqi official added that talks are underway with Iran and its Oil Ministry to increase Baghdad's gas purchases.

He stated that Iraq's electricity production had increased by 22% over the previous year, and that new power plants were set to be operationalized in the country, which relies on natural gas for fuel.

In late July, Iranian Minister of Energy Ali Akbar Mehrabian said the Islamic Republic has signed a long-term strategic electricity contract with Iraq to provide its Arab neighbor with sustainable energy supplies.

“Given that we are facing a surplus of electricity production in the country at many times of the year, we pursue the development of energy diplomacy centered on electricity with neighbors in order to both solve their problems and create a stable flow of income and use the maximum capacity of our electricity network,” Iranian media on Wednesday quoted Mehrabian as saying.

The minister mentioned Iran's self-sufficiency in technical knowledge of power plant construction, stating that 1,950 megawatts of power plants have been built by Iranian companies with Iraqi investment.

He added that knowledge-based companies from Iran's private sector are also building 1,700 megawatts of power plants in Iraq.

The agreement comes amid unilateral US sanctions reimpose on Iran since 2018, which forbid countries from purchasing Iranian energy.

Iraq relies on Iran for natural gas that generates as much as 45 percent of its 14,000 megawatts of electricity consumed daily. Iran transmits another 1,000 megawatts directly, making itself an indispensable energy source for its Arab neighbor.

The US has had to repeatedly extend sanctions exemption by 45, 90 or 120 days, to allow Baghdad to import Iranian energy, but it is unhappy with close relationship and trade between Baghdad and Tehran.

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