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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 September 2018

Iraq pushes ahead with power reconstruction efforts 

Baghdad has working on rehabilitation of essential infrastructure following the liberation of areas controlled by ISIS

An employee working at the Bin Omar natural gas station, north of the southern Iraqi port of Basra.haidar Mohammed Ali / AFP
An employee working at the Bin Omar natural gas station, north of the southern Iraqi port of Basra.haidar Mohammed Ali / AFP

Iraq is looking to fix power outages across seven war-torn provinces following a US$400 million contract with the American utilities firm GE Power to build 14 electricity substations that will connect them with the grid.

GE Power will develop substations that will connect to power plants across the Ninawa, Salah Al Din, Al-Anbar, Karbala, Baghdad, Qadisiyyah and Basra governorates, which are in immediate need of reliable power infrastructure. The firmsaid as yet it does not have a definite timeline for completion of the facilities.

As part of its agreement with the Iraqi electricity ministry, the US firm said it would help the ministry secure funding through various financial institutions, including export credit agencies commercial banks.

Following the liberation of provinces from the control of ISIL, Iraq is in dire need of rehabilitating its infrastructure, particularly power.

The country suffers acute shortages in its summer months, when temperatures can reach 50°C, and has led to widespread protests against the government. Iraq’s power stations are designed to run on gas but the country has been unable to ramp up gas production to adequately meet its electricity generation needs. Baghdad imports around eight million cubic metres a day of gas as well as electricity from neighbouring Iran to keep its plants functioning.

Iraq’s oil ministry has also in recent months embarked on a programme to harness gas associated with oil production that is currently being flared.

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The World Bank estimates Iraq is one of the biggest gas flarers globally. Around 16 billion cubic metres of gas was burnt off from its fields in 2015 costing the economy billions in lost revenue.

The National reported last week that Iraq had added around 400 megawatts to its power grid this year as part of a new programme of gas recovery being championed by the country’s oil minister Jabbar Al Luaibi.

The ministry has proposed building three new plants to process gas currently being flared from its southern fields.

Repairing essential power infrastructure is only the tip of the iceberg of Iraq’s reconstruction efforts.

Last month, the World Bank approved a $400m package to aid the recovery and reconstruction of essential Iraqi infrastructure in the liberated areas. Iraq’s planning ministry has estimated that the full cost of rehabilitating various provinces in the country, damaged in the past decade of conflict, could be as high as $100 billion.

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