Iraq’s power output declines as gas supplies from Iran fall

Bloomberg – Iraq’s production of electricity, excluding Kurdistan, has dropped by 27% within the past three months because of reduced shipments of natural gas from Iran, Ahmed Moussa, a spokesman for Iraq’s electricity ministry, said Friday in an interview in Baghdad.

Experiencing high local demand itself, the neighboring country slimmed down pipeline deliveries to Iraq to just 4 million cubic meters a day in January, from a daily rate of 25 million in October. The gas feeds power plants in Baghdad as well as the country’s southern and eastern provinces.

“The Iranians notified us that they entered peak load and they are unable to continue the same supplies,” Moussa said.

Iraq’s power output has declined to between about 13,500 and 14,000 megawatts, down from about 19,250 megawatts in October, exacerbating power outages. This total includes 1,100 megawatts of power coming directly from Iran via links between the two grids. Iraq has suffered nationwide protests in recent months amid demands for better services, jobs and an end to corruption, as well as calls to curb Iran’s political influence.

Two pipelines laid between Iran and Iraq over the past seven years have failed to deliver as much gas as their combined capacity of 75 million cubic meters a day. At their peak, deliveries reached 27 million.

Additional power output of 3,600 megawatts is expected to enter service before the end of 2020, in part from projects involving Siemens AG and General Electric Co. to rehabilitate aging power plants. The Siemens deal, worth about 14 billion euros ($15.5 billion), is supposed to add 11,000 megawatts over four years, Moussa said.

Iraq’s power demand is expected to rise to 27,000 megawatts by the end of the year, up from 25,000 megawatts currently. The ministry’s plan is to reach power production of 23,000 megawatts by December if Iran’s gas flow returns to normal.

Iraq is also working to link up its grid with Kuwait, which by October should add about 500 megawatts of capacity. The ministry would like to implement similar connections with Jordan and Turkey.