EghtesadOnline: Iraq is still waiting for Iran to resume supplying the country with sufficient amounts of gas for power generation, after the US granted Baghdad a 90-day waiver to continue to import electricity from Tehran on Dec. 30.
"The reason for power shortages in provinces is the continuing slashing of Iranian gas supplied to power stations," Ahmed Musa, spokesman for Iraq's Electricity Ministry told state-owned Iraqi News Agency, S&P Global reported.
Iran’s Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian, who visited Iraq Dec. 29, pledged to resume slashed gas supplies, according to a statement from Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.
Cash-strapped Iraq owes Iran billions of dollars in unpaid bills for gas imports, which are needed to avert power shortages in OPEC's second largest producer. Iran has lowered supply from 50 million cubic meters per day to 5 million cm/d, according to Iraqi officials.
Iraq's inability to pay its bills comes as the US granted Baghdad on Dec. 30 a 90-day waiver to keep importing Iranian energy.
The current waiver follows the 45-day waiver that was granted Nov. 20. Since 2018, Iraq has received waivers from Washington to import energy products from Iran, which is subjection to US sanctions.
Under US pressure to wean itself off Iranian energy imports, Iraq has pledged to take a number of actions to boost gas and electricity supply in the country. However, the pace of action has been slow amid the country's financial crisis sparked by the pandemic, low oil prices and political uncertainty.