Dubai — GE is ready to engage in talks with Iraq to help OPEC's second-largest oil producer generate power from associated gas that is currently being flared and also to participate in any renewable energy plans, a company executive said on June 22.
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Capturing 30% to 40% of current flared gas can generate as much as 3.3 GW of electricity, Joe Anis, CEO of Middle East, North Africa and South Asia at GE Gas Power told the virtual Iraq finance forum. The company is also interested in any renewable projects that Iraq could undertake, he said.
"I think it's a huge opportunity and I think it is something we are keen to continue our engagement and discussions and dialogue with stakeholders in the government," said Anis. "But it is certainly a way to ensure additional power generation that can be provided with a resource that is readily available."
Iraq plans to boost its electricity capacity by September and restart a 755 MW solar tender, an electricity ministry spokesman said on June 18, as the oil producer comes under increased US pressure to wean itself off Iranian electricity and gas imports.
Iraq plans to add 635 MW by September, Ahmad al-Abadi told the state-run Iraqi News Agency. Iraq currently produces 16.77 GW of electricity, according to the electricity ministry's website.
The country first launched the solar tender process in May 2019, but its first solar round was later put on hold.
Iraq is under heavy pressure from the US to lower its dependence on Iranian gas and electricity and has tried to take steps to meet this request. Iraq plans to capture and treat some 1.2 Bcf/day that is currently mostly flared and also produce dry gas from other fields, Hamed Younis, deputy oil minister, told S&P Global Platts on June 9.
The US on May 7 extended Iraq's sanctions waiver for 120 days to import Iranian electricity, as the US administration seeks to boost the new Iraqi prime minister appointed that month and provide some stability to the politically fractured nation.
The US, which has sought to squeeze Iran by imposing sanctions on its energy exports in 2018, has granted Iraq a series of waivers enabling it to maintain electricity imports from its neighbor. Power outages in the hot summer months, where air conditioning demand is high particularly in the south where temperatures can soar to 50 C, has led in the past to protests.