EghtesadOnline: Iran's natural gas export to Iraq is set to reach 50 million cubic meters per day in the next fiscal year (starting March 21), the managing director of state-run National Iranian Gas Company said on Sunday.
In an interview with Radio Eghtesad, Hamidreza Araqi added that the development of infrastructures to transfer gas to Iraq will be completed by the yearend, and "as soon as Iraq signals its readiness, Iran will start gas supply to Basra and Baghdad each by up to 25 mcm/d".
"To materialize the plan, Iraq needs to complete its infrastructures as well. However, the country’s officials have stressed that Basra will be ready by the end of the year," he said.
Iran is currently exporting gas to Iraq from Naftshahr region in Kermanshah Province through a pipeline diverging from the Sixth Iran Gas Trunkline (IGAT-6), according to Financial Tribune.
IGAT-6 is a major component of the national gas grid which, according to Araqi, will have the capacity to transfer 110 million cubic meters of gas per day from South Pars Gas Field in the Persian Gulf to southern and western regions.
Araqi noted that the infrastructure to send gas to Basra will soon be established for meeting the needs of both Basra and Baghdad gas export deals.
The Iraqi government approved a deal in late 2017 to import 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.
As per the deal, Iran committed itself to exporting gas to the Iraqi capital Baghdad and the southern Iraqi city of Basra.
About 12 mcm/d of gas per day are currently transferred to Baghdad, making Iraq the second largest gas customer of Iran after Turkey, which imported about 21 mcm/d in 2016, according to the latest BP Statistical Review of World Energy.
Basra, Iraq's second largest city, also 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 and the export will commence soon.
Araqi noted that if the goal is achieved, Iraq will become the biggest importer of Iran's gas by overtaking Turkey.
Iran's gas export to Turkey currently stands at about 30 mcm/d.
"The project can to a great extent help Iran advance its plans on expansion of natural gas exports," he concluded.
Iran produces more than 800 million cubic meters of gas per day, but exports a fraction to Turkey, Russia and Iraq. The country holds the world's largest gas reserves and is followed by Russia.