Iraq's power shortage crisis

Tackling Iranian gas cut and linking grid with neighbors

BAGHDAD, January 14 — The Iraqi Ministry of Electricity today confirmed the temporary reduction in gas supply from Iran due to maintenance activities and outlined steps being taken to address the resulting power generation challenges. The Ministry also highlighted the completion of electrical grid connections with Turkey and Jordan, and the progress on the link with the Gulf.

Ahmed Musa, the spokesperson for the Ministry, told the official agency that “the current power generation capacity has reached nearly 17,500 megawatts.” This decrease is attributed to the loss of 4,000 megawatts following the reduction of Iranian gas supplies to the central region, Baghdad, and the south.

Musa explained that “the system currently needs about 50 million cubic meters of gas, but only 10 million cubic meters are being received.” The Ministry of Oil is striving to compensate for this shortfall.

Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani and Electricity Minister Ziad Ali Fadel have emphasized the importance of preventing an energy crisis. “We are operating some of our stations on alternative fuel, diesel, or crude oil to avoid a power generation crisis,” Musa stated, adding that “running the generation units on alternative fuel is not as efficient as running them on gas.”

The Iranian side attributed the reduced gas flow to maintenance work on pipelines within Iran, assuring the resumption of normal gas flow by February 7.

Regarding national gas, Musa mentioned that “the gas extracted from the Ukaz field is used for the Ukaz station, and the gas from the Halfaya field is for the Maysan gas and investment station.” He highlighted the Ministry of Oil’s plan to extract gas for power stations in the first quarter of the year, but emphasized the ongoing need for imported gas, as exploiting domestic gas projects takes two to three years.

Musa also discussed initiatives to reduce dependence on gas and fossil fuels, such as installing power plants based on the heat produced from simple cycle operations, solar energy projects, and waste-to-energy projects.

Regarding electrical grid connectivity, Musa confirmed that “the electrical connection with the Gulf requires 12-16 months to complete,” with about 87% of this connection already finished. He noted that the connections with Turkey and Jordan are 100% complete and are awaiting approvals to become operational.