Iraq has officially signed a deal worth 3.7 billion dollars annually to import natural gas from Iran for power generation. According to Reuters, 850 million cubic feet of gas will be transferred from Iran via pipeline to fuel gas-fired power plants in Iraq.
Under the deal, a 136.7-mile pipeline is being installed by Iran Consulting Group and is slated for completion in the next two months. The new pipeline will run through the Mansuriyah gas field and Iraq’s troubled Diyala province into Baghdad, where it will then be channeled to supply two power plants.
"The pipeline section inside Iraq was supposed to be completed last month, but the unstable security situation in Diyala province and property issues have delayed the project, which is expected to finish after two months," the electricity ministry said in a statement.
Iraq has serious need for additional natural gas resources. The nation currently requires approximately 14,000 megawatts of power to meet its energy needs, but only produces 8,800 MW. The deficit leaves most citizens to receive only a few hours of electricity a day, a situation particularly problmatic during the sweltering summer months when tempratures can reach over 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
The deal may serve also to lessen the impact of international sanctions against Iran, which are intended to stunt the country's development of nuclear projects. While it has been long speculated Iran’s nuclear program is aimed at the building of nuclear weapons, the nation continues to insist its research is only for peaceful civilian purposes.