Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity said on 1 June that a “reduction of 5mn m3/d [of natural gas exports] by the Iranian side” is the culprit behind reduced power provision in the country. Baghdad had reached an agreement to pay Tehran over $1.6bn in outstanding 2020 energy imports bills. But with the current political gridlock preventing passing a budget, Electricity Minister Adel Kareem was building hopes on the proposed food security bill to enable payment (MEES, 27 May). With the bill delayed, Iran has reduced flows to protest the non-payment.
Meanwhile, Iraq’s Oil Minister Ihsan Ismaael headed to Riyadh on 2 June to discuss electricity interconnection with Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman. An MoU was signed in January building on previous agreements to interconnect both grids (MEES, 28 January), but technical and tariff challenges remain a hurdle to a final agreement. Another plan is to interconnect with the GCCIA, but even with partial project finance being secured last month (MEES, 8 April), progress has largely stalled. (CONTINUED - 175 WORDS)