Iranian Gas Finally Starts Flowing Into Iraq
Iran commenced the supply of natural gas to Iraq via a pipeline, a deputy at the National Iranian Oil Company said late Wednesday.
“Exports have begun at the rate of 7 million cubic meters per day and will eventually increase to 35 mcm/d,” Amirhossein Zamaninia said, IRNA reported.
"The long-awaited project finally went on stream after four years of delay due to the challenging security situation in war-torn Iraq," Zamaninia said, adding that the gas will be supplied under two contracts, one for exports to Baghdad power plants, and the other to Basra.
According to the official, the war-ravaged Arab neighbor needs Iran’s gas to feed three of its power plants—Rumaila, Shatt al-Basra and al-Najibiyah—to counter lengthy outages that have sparked protests against the government in Baghdad and its poor public services in the past few years, particularly during the hot summer season when electricity demand soars.
Gas will be exported from Naftshahr region in Kermanshah Province in the first phase, through a pipeline diverging from the 6th Iran National Gas Trunkline (IGAT-6).
There were reports that gas exports would begin in September 2016, with the initial amount the same at 7 mcm/d, yet in addition to security concerns when Islamic State militants took control of large swathes of Iraqi territory, there was trouble with the funding and operational issues related to the construction of the pipeline.
Currently, Turkey is the only country that purchases Iranian gas throughout the year under a long-term contract, with the bulk of Iran's gas output used at home for power generation and heating as well as for injection into crude oil wells to boost recovery.
Growing consumption of natural gas at home and plans to expand the export of the clean fossil fuel comes as Tehran says it is close to finalizing a deal with French energy giant Total to develop phase 11 of the giant offshore South Pars Gas Field, Iran's largest gas reservoir that is shared with Qatar.
Iran sits on the world's largest gas reserves, according to statistics compiled by BP. It holds 17% of the world's proven natural gas reserves.