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Iraq Set To Sign Crucial Energy Deals With Saudi Arabia

Iraq is in discussions to sign energy deals with Saudi Arabia worth tens of billions of U.S. dollars, according to Iraq’s oil minister.

OPEC’s second-largest producer, Iraq, and OPEC’s top producer Saudi Arabia are discussing contracts in the energy, water desalination, and petrochemical sectors, Iraqi daily Al-Sabah quoted Iraq’s Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar Ismail as saying on Monday.

Iraq is in talks with Saudi oil giant Aramco about a potential partnership to explore and develop natural gas fields in the western desert in Iraq, according to the Iraqi minister.

Despite holding huge oil and gas reserves, Iraq has struggled to develop them and is not self-sufficient in energy and electricity supply. 

Iraq has been suffering from power outages and disruptions due to a lack of investment in its transmission grids. Iraq also relies on electricity and natural gas imports from neighboring Iran for its power supply and has received waivers from the United States to continue importing electricity from Iran despite the American sanctions against Tehran.

Iraq also plans contracts with Saudi Arabia-based ACWA Power aimed at building water desalination plants and solar parks in the country, according to the Al-Sabah daily. In addition, OPEC’s number one and number two are also negotiating the start of joint projects in the petrochemicals sector, the Iraqi minister was quoted as saying.

A few weeks ago, supermajor TotalEnergies signed agreements with Iraq’s authorities to invest in the country’s energy sector over the next years.  

TotalEnergies said it would invest in installations to recover gas that is being flared on three oil fields and as such, supply gas to 1.5 gigawatts (GW) of power generation capacity in a first phase, growing to 3 GW in a second phase. The French supermajor will also develop 1 GWac of solar electricity generation capacity to supply the Basra regional grid. These two projects, plus a large-scale seawater treatment unit to increase water injection capacities in southern Iraq fields without increasing water withdrawals, represent a total investment of approximately $10 billion, TotalEnergies said.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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