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Dubai — Iraq plans to study using Kurdish natural gas for power generation across the country, the country's oil minister said on Sunday, allowing OPEC's second-largest oil producer to plug the gas deficit and power shortage. The country currently imports the fuel from Iran with approval from the US.

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The ministry also discussed with a Kurdish delegation investment in gas fields in the semi-autonomous region, Thamer al-Ghadhban said at a press conference in the presence of Kurdish officials, according to a ministry statement.

Iraq currently imports gas and electricity from Iran to help plug the gas deficit and power shortage that plagues the country especially in the hot summer months when electricity demand peaks. Previous power outages have led to protests particularly in the south where summer temperatures can soar to 50 Celsius.

Since 2018, Iraq has benefitted from US waivers from sanctions for importing Iranian gas and electricity.

In March, the US extended the waiver for 30 days, the shortest period granted so far to Iraq.

The March extension will be the seventh waiver the US has issued for Iraq since US sanctions on Iran energy exports snapped back in November 2018. After an initial 45-day waiver, the State Department issued two 90-day waivers in a row followed by two 120-day waivers in a row in June and then October. It issued a 45-day waiver in February.