Kurdistan Gas: The Key To Easing Iraq’s Chronic Power Shortages?

Federal Iraq’s gas-fired power plants lack feedstock, while the absence of an existing export route has hamstrung development of the Kurdistan Region’s gas fields. The solution looks simple, and there are proponents for a deal on both sides, but Iraqi politics means it is never so simple.

Endowed with abundant natural gas resources, federal Iraq’s power generation sector nevertheless is a mess. The country’s 15GW of nominally gas fired power stations have to burn 330,000 b/d liquids just to keep the turbines turning, while billions is spent on importing gas from neighboring Iran.

That Baghdad has to turn to Iran for imports is especially absurd given that substantial gas reserves lie in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region in Iraq’s north. Here, Erbil’s plans to export some 10bcm/year to Turkey have lost momentum amid the absence of a pipeline route, stretched finances and a growing perception that Kurdish gas is not a priority for Ankara. (CONTINUED - 1494 WORDS)