No Country Can Replace Iran’s Power and Gas Exports to Iraq

(Wednesday, May 15, 2019) 12:11

Iraq will remain dependent on Iran for power at least for the next three years, IRNA quoted the country's Electricity Minister Luay al-Khatteeb as saying on Monday.

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 supplies that provide feedstock for Iraqi power stations, Khatteeb said. "As for now this has no alternative in terms of price, volume and delivery.”

Khatteeb said his ministry has explored other options in neighboring countries. "There is no better alternative that can compete on volume, price and speed of delivery compared to what Iran offers."What really matters for Baghdad is that it gets the best deal, he noted. "I do not care if the power comes from country A or country B. What really matters is I need to get the best contract. If other [Arab] neighbors can offer a better deal, then be my guest." 

Referring to the new US sanctions to hurt Iran’s economy and a reluctance to let Iraq keep importing power and gas from Iran, he expressed the hope that the United States would see reason and be more rational."At the end of the day, the US is our strategic partner in rebuilding and developing Iraq," he said, noting that at the same time, Iraq also has strategic relations with other neighbors, namely Iran, with which it shares history, culture and interests. 

"This must not be sacrificed at the altar of one relationship."Last summer, blackouts triggered violent protests in southern Iraq that soon spread across much of the country.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 Arab country depend on Iranian natural gas to generate power.