EghtesadOnline: Iran's natural gas export to the city of Basra in southern Iraq can take place in March, the managing director of state-run National Iranian Gas Company said.
"Iraq has expressed readiness to receive Iranian gas in Basra in two months … Shalamcheh border [in the southwestern province of Khuzestan] has been chosen as the gateway for gas export to Basra," Hamidreza Araqi was also quoted as saying by IRNA on Monday.
Basra, Iraq's second largest city, needs Iranian gas to feed its power plant as part of efforts to reduce outages that have turned into a persistent source of public discontent.
Araqi, who is also a deputy oil minister, added that as soon as the Iraq signals its readiness, Iran will start gas supply to Basra by up to 25 million cubic meters per day, Financial Tribune reported.
The official said the infrastructure for gas export to the western neighbor is complete on the Iranian side, but Iraq is yet to finish laying pipelines, because of which the plan has not materialized.
“Basra needs to lay pipelines under Arvand River, which is a difficult project. However, the country’s officials have stressed that Basra, the second Iraqi city after Baghdad to receive gas from Iran, will be ready in two months,” he said.
The Iraqi government approved a deal last month to import natural gas from Iran to the eastern border province of Diyala, increasing purchases of the Iranian fuel, which started in June after several years of delays.
The neighbors, both members of OPEC, initially signed a deal in 2013 for Iran to supply two Iraqi power stations in Baghdad and Basra, but officials in the past blamed poor security in Iraq for hampering implementation.
Iraq reportedly takes in 12 mcm/d of gas from Iran through pipeline and has now become Iran's second largest gas customer after Turkey, which imported about 21 mcm/d in 2016, according to the latest BP Statistical Review of World Energy.