Gas Exports to Iraq in May

Gas Exports to Iraq in MayGas Exports to Iraq in May

Iran is set to commence gas exports to Iraq in May, managing director of the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) said on Saturday, ILNA reported.

NIGC has constructive interaction with the National Iranian Gas Exports Company (NIGEC) in this regard, Alireza Kameli said, noting the delayed gas exports to Baghdad will start as early as May.

The agreement to export gas to Iraq was drafted in 2012 during the former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s second term and was finalized in July 2012 in Baghdad between National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) and Iraq’s oil ministry. Total gas export capacity to Iraq could possibly increase to 70 mcmd.

However, the two countries agreed to postpone exports to the second quarter of 2015 given the political insecurity in the region. “Iran and Iraq seek to implement the gas export project as soon as possible,” Kameli noted. Iran is ready to export natural gas to the two Iraqi cities of Baghdad and Basra. Initially, four million cubic meters per day (mcmd) of gas will be provided to power plants in Baghdad, yet the volume can gradually go up to 35 mcmd.

A 270 kilometer pipeline stretches from Charmaleh, a village located in the western province of Kermanshah in Iran, to Naft Shahr, a town bordering Iraq and then to power plants in Baghdad.

A second route, with a capacity of 30 mcmd, will pass through Basra. The agreement on exporting gas to Basra is “to be finalized in the near future,” Kameli said, adding that gas exports to Basra will begin in 2016, one year after conclusion of a final agreement. A 142 kilometer pipeline is to be extended from the sixth branch of Iran Gas Trunkline (IGAT 6) to Basra.  

Iran ranks first in the world in terms of natural gas reserves and third in terms of oil reserves, according to the latest statistics compiled by BP. It holds 17% of the world’s proved natural gas reserves. Nonetheless, it is a relatively minor and strictly regional exporter of natural gas via pipelines to three neighboring countries – Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.