EghtesadOnline: Iraq’s gas imports from Iran will rise to 35 million cubic meters per day in June from 28 mcm, a spokesman for the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity said Tuesday.
"This is expected to raise the power generated with Iranian gas imports to 4,700 megawatts," Musab al-Mudaris was quoted as saying by ISNA.
Iraq has no choice but to continue importing gas from Iran, Financial Tribune quoted him as saying.
"Stopping imports (from Iran) would deprive our electricity network of 4,000 megawatts per day."
Highlighting his country's reliance on Iran gas imports to feed the power grid, he noted, “So far we have no alternative to Iranian gas."
US President Donald Trump re-sanctioned Iran's energy and banking sectors last November following his decision in May to abandon a landmark 2015 nuclear deal signed between the six major powers and Tehran. But he let Iraq continue buying electricity and natural gas from Iran till May 2019.
The US administration said Monday that it will not renew waivers that let countries buy Iranian oil and gas.
Iraq’s power needs are growing by 7% per annum.
In the summer months starting in June, when temperatures across southern Iraq soar, demand on the power grid reaches up to 24,000 megawatts a day.
According to Iran’s Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian, Iran has exported close to 65 billion kilowatt hours of electricity to Iraq since 2005.
Iraq, the biggest importer of electricity from Iran, needs more than 23,000 MW to meet rapidly growing domestic demand. Years of war, civil strife, terror attacks and the US invasion in 2003 almost destroyed its power infrastructure leading to 7,000 MW deficit.
Besides importing electricity from Iran, Iraq’s power plants also depend on Iranian natural gas. A shortage last summer fueled unrest in some southern provinces.
Iraq faces a chronic power shortage that often leaves homes without electricity for as much 20 hours a day and was a key factor behind mass protests last summer.
To cope with the shortages, Iraq buys up to 28 mcm of Iranian gas a day for power generation and also directly imports up to 1,300 megawatts of Iranian electricity.