EghtesadOnline: Iraq and Iran are exploring ways to develop two shared oilfields despite US efforts to isolate Tehran from global oil markets.
Thamir Ghadhban, Iraq’s oil minister, made the statement in Baghdad on Thursday in a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, IRNA reported.
"The two sides are conducting surveys of the oilfields. No contract has been signed yet as more negotiations are needed to reach a comprehensive agreement on financial and technical matters," Ghadhban added.
He did not disclose the name of the fields, nor did he reveal details about the framework of future agreements. Nonetheless, the remarks echoed statements by previous Iraqi oil ministers namely Jabar al-Luaibi that the Arab state is interested in a deal with Tehran to jointly invest in the two oilfields, according to Financial Tribune.
Integrated development of oil and gas deposits shared by two or more countries is an increasingly common practice that helps to cut production costs and maximize output and profit.
Iran shares a spate of oil and gas reservoirs with neighboring countries, including several oil deposits with Iraq that shares over a 1,400km border with Iran.
Referring to bilateral relations, Ghadhban underlined the need to expand energy ties with Iran, especially importing natural gas.
The US administration is mounting pressure on Iraq to break its energy links to Iran after President Donald Trump re-sanctioned Tehran last year. Iraq imports gas and electricity from Iran to meet its rising energy needs. The US granted Iraq a waiver until March to continue buying Iranian gas after which it could face punitive measures.
Iraqi Minister of Electricity Luay Al Khateeb: Iraq's electricity sector needs to grow by 7% annually due to economic development and population growth. Iran is the closest and trusted source of energy supply to Iraq
About 15 million cubic meters of gas per day is supplied to Baghdad, making Iraq the second largest gas customer after Turkey, which, according to Zanganeh, "currently imports 30 million cubic meters of Iranian gas.”
Basra, Iraq's second largest city, also needs Iranian gas to feed its power plant as part of efforts to reduce outages.
Heading a delegation, Zangeneh arrived in Baghdad on Thursday and met Iraq's Minister of Electricity Luay Al Khateeb, President Barham Salih as well as Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi who said his country wants to expand electricity collaboration with Iran.
"Iraq's electricity sector needs to grow by 7% annually due to economic development and population growth. Iran is the closest and trusted source of energy supply to Iraq," Al Khateeb said.
Iraq is the main importer of Iranian electricity for more than a decade. The Arab neighbor needs 23,000 plus megawatts of electricity to meet rapidly rising domestic demand, but decades of instability and fighting have destroyed its power infrastructure. It has a power deficit of 7,000 MW.
Annual power generation in Iran is 82,000 MW and average annual export is 10,000 MW to Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Iraq invaded Iran in 1980, triggering a bitter eight-year war that devastated both countries and destabilized the region. The war claimed the lives of at least one million people and during the conflict Iraq used poison gas against Iranians. The war ended in 1988 after UN Resolution 598 came into effect.