Iraq begins importing electricity from Turkey on Monday via the Silopi-Zakho line for a period of 11 months, in conjunction with its announcement of reducing the quantities of Iranian gas exported to it for power generation due to non-payment of debts.
It is expected that the “AXA Axen” energy trading company will provide Iraq with about 150 megawatts of electricity after the Energy Market Regulatory Authority in Turkey granted a license in this regard. Under the contract concluded with the Iraqi side, the electricity supply to Iraq will start from December 28th until November 1, 2021.
This comes at a time when the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity said today, Sunday, that the capital, Baghdad, and other cities are facing the risk of major power cuts after Iran reduced gas exports.
The ministry’s spokesman, Ahmed Moussa, said that Iran had reduced its gas exports to Iraq to 5 million cubic meters from 50 million cubic meters two weeks ago due to what it says are late receivables, noting that it officially informed the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity today of its intention to reduce shipments again to 3 million Cubic meters.
The spokesman said that Iraq lost about 6,550 megawatts of electricity, adding that Iraq’s daily consumption in winter peak hours is about 19 thousand megawatts, while the country generates only about 11 thousand megawatts, to depend on imports to fill the gap.
Iran’s Energy Minister, Reza Ardakanian, will visit Baghdad on Tuesday to discuss the arrears with his Iraqi counterpart, Moussa said.
The spokesman urged the Iraqi Ministry of Finance to settle the matter with Iran to avoid power cuts in Baghdad and other cities.
Washington had repeatedly extended the exemption from the sanctions to 90 or 120 days, allowing Baghdad to import energy from Iran, but in November it was satisfied with an extension of no more than 45 days.
The United States insists that oil-rich Iraq, the second largest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), work to achieve self-sufficiency as a condition to exempt it from sanctions despite its Iranian energy purchases, but Baghdad is finding it difficult to achieve this, partly because of low oil prices.