One of the major issues in Iraq in terms of domestic electricity supply is the import of gas to supply energy to power plants. Since gas exploration in Iraq has not led to an increase in natural gas production, it is likely that dependence on imported gas will continue for another five years. Iraqi gas production reached 10.5 billion cubic meters in 2020, which will not meet domestic demand.
In June 2021, Iraq’s Ministers of Electricity and Finance and the director general of the Trade Bank agreed to schedule the debts so as to resume Iranian gas exports over the coming days, the Electricity Ministry spokesman Ahmed Moussa said. Moussa said imports were currently 20 mn m³/d, less than a third of the contracted 70 mn m³/d Iraq needs to meet its peak summer demand as temperature rises to more than 50°C.
In April 2022, the Iraqi Minister made the remarks in a TV talk show, promising a different summer in comparison to previous summers, saying that the Ministry of Electricity makes all-out efforts to get ready for a hike in electricity consumption during this hot summer. Karim acknowledged that creating a power grid connection with Arab littoral states of the Persian Gulf would be very costly, noting that the Iraqi government does not accepts the prices that such Arab countries propose. “Iran’s gas is appropriate for Iraq and its price is acceptable,” he said, adding, “We need Iran’s gas for years.”
The minister also referred to three agreements with Qatar, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, noting that Iraq has not yet reached any deal with these countries on energy prices.
Most Iraqi power plants depend on Iran’s gas and energy export. Iraq needs 35,000 megawatts per annum and 1500 MW is being added to the requirement, he went on to say. Iraqi and Iranian oil ministers discussed the increase in Iran’s gas export to Iraq as well as the issue of payback of Baghdad’s debt to Tehran.
Iranian Oil Minister Javad Owji met with his Iraqi counterpart Ihsan Abdul Jabbar on the sidelines of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) in Doha in March.
Ahmed Musa, the spokesman for Iraqi Ministry of Electricity, announced that high-ranking delegations composing of representatives from the three Ministries of Electricity, Treasury, and Oil along with Salem Chalabi, the CEO of the Commercial Bank of Iraq, are scheduled to visit Iran in order to hold talks on demanding for more gas export to the neighboring Arab country.
According to the spokesman, the two sides have started consultations on the increase of Iranian gas export to Iraq, and the Iraqi Prime Minister has ordered repayment of the debt to Tehran within three years.