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One of Iraq’s main priorities is to improve the country’s energy sector, and recently signed agreements will help Iraq cut the cord on the importation of natural gas, Rudaw shared on Thursday.
Iraqi Prime Minister, Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani, reaffirmed on Thursday at the 2023 Iraq Forum in Baghdad his commitment to shoring up the country’s rich energy sector—addressing in particular the country’s reliance on imported natural gas. Other natural gas-related issues that the Prime Minister vowed would be a priority is achieving gas self-sufficiency, preserving its environment, and reducing natural gas flaring.
“We are burning money,” al-Sudani said, referring to the 1200 cubic meters of natural gas that is flared every day and 1000 cubic meters of natural gas that the country imports from Iran every day. This “costs us no less than 4 billion dollars a year,” al-Sudani explained.
Iraq relies on Iran for about 40% of its power supplies—in large part due to the import of natural gas. This dynamic has frustrated the United States, which has sanctioned Iran. Iraq continues to maintain that it is moving away from this geopolitically contentious relationship with Iran, but so far, it has failed to wean itself off the Iranian teet.
It is conceivable that Iraq is sitting on enough gas to utilize this associated gas for power generation, instead of burning it off in the atmosphere. Late last year, Iraq’s oil ministry approved an increase in associated gas production in the Zubair oilfield.
Iraq previously agreed to be part of the United Nations and World Bank’s Zero Routine Flaring initiative, which is to end by 2030 the routine flaring of produced gas during the oil drilling process.
When Iraq signed onto the Flaring initiative, the country flared the second-largest quantity of gas in the world, after Russia.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.