Iraq’s power ministry says its electricity transmission grid is now ready for full integration with the GCC Interconnectivity Authority (GGCIA) grid, which will allow Iraq to import up to 1GW via Kuwait. The deal was signed last year (MEES, 13 September 2019), and was welcome news in Washington as the US tries to limit (and eventually end) Iraqi reliance on Iran for power supplies. Work still needs completion on the GCC side, with former Electricity Minister Luay al-Khatteeb telling MEES earlier this year that electricity wheeling is expected to begin by end-2020 (MEES, 15 May).
This comes as Iraq approaches yet another summer with insufficient electricity supply. And with Iraq cutting crude output in a bid to reach full Opec+ compliance (MEES, 3 July), associated gas supply (which accounts for almost all of Iraq’s gas output) could fall significantly (MEES, 12 June), putting further strain on the already tattered power sector. Yesar al-Maleki of Iraq Energy Institute notes that units 1&3 of Iraq’s gas fired 500MW Amara powerplant were shut down earlier this week due to production cuts at PetroChina’s 400,000 b/d Halfaya field. A similar situation from Iraq’s key Basra fields could lead to major electricity cuts in southern Iraq, always a potential hotbed for unrest. (CONTINUED - 206 WORDS)