EghtesadOnline: The United States has allowed Iraq to import Iranian gas for its power grid for another three months by extending a waiver to US sanctions for Baghdad, two government sources said on Saturday.
One of the sources, who asked not to be named, said the extension was given during a phone call between Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Reuters reported.
The Trump administration reimposed sanctions on Iran’s energy exports last November, but granted waivers to several buyers to meet consumer energy needs.
Washington gave Iraq a 45-day waiver for imports of gas from Iran when it reimposed sanctions on Iran’s oil sector on Nov. 5, 218, Financial Tribune reported.
Iraqi officials have repeatedly said they need at least two years to find an alternative source to replace Iranian gas and power.
Iraq relies heavily on Iranian energy for power supply to its dilapidated power grid that is in dire need of rehabilitation.
Riots broke out in the southern city of Basra last summer when Iran briefly cut its electricity exports due to technical problems.
In May Iraqi officials including the Electricity Minister Luay al-Khatteeb expressed the hope that the US would exempt his country from the new restrictions that have targeted Iran’s key economic sectors.
Close to 4 gigawatts (roughly one-third of Iraqi consumption) comes directly/indirectly from Iran -- either in the form of direct electricity export or through natural gas supply that provide feedstock for Iraqi power stations, Khatteeb said.
Iraq is the biggest importer of electricity from Iran. It needs more than 23,000 MW to meet growing domestic demand. Years of war, civil strife, terror attacks and the US invasion in 2003 almost destroyed its power infrastructure creating a whopping 7,000 MW deficit.
Besides importing electricity from Iran, power plants in the neighboring country depend on Iranian natural gas to generate power.