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Iran ready to examine gas contracts with Iraq amid intermittent supply

Highlights

Iran prepared to extend gas contract with Iraq: deputy oil minister

Iraq relies on Iranian gas and electricity imports

It is under US pressure to lower reliance on Iran

Iran is ready to examine its gas contracts with Iraq, its deputy oil minister for gas affairs said Sept. 29, amid Tehran's intermittent supply to OPEC's second-biggest producer that has led to power outages in recent months.

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"We are ready to extend the contract for gas exports to Iraq," Majid Chegeni, who is also the managing director of National Iranian Gas Co, said in a report published by the company on Sept. 29.

He made the remarks during a meeting with an Iraqi delegation, according to NIGC, which didn't say when it took place.

"Our relationship with Iraq is a strategic one... the more our interactions are, especially in the energy field, the deeper and more objective this relationship will be."

The NIGC report added that Iranian oil minister Javad Owji, in a meeting with Iraq's electricity ministry, had said the new Iranian government's priority is to negotiate with various sides to boost gas exports and trade.

US pressure

Iran this year has reduced its supply of gas and electricity to Iraq due to domestic shortages and Baghdad's unpaid bills estimated to be in the billions of dollars.

Iraq has not been able to pay its dues because Iran has been under US sanctions since they were re-imposed in 2018.

Iraq is also under increasing US pressure to wean itself off Iranian energy imports and develop its own gas resources, most of which are pumped with oil.

Cash-strapped Iraq has failed to develop several associated gas projects and is seeking help from international oil companies to help capture gas pumped with oil, most of which is currently flared.

Iraq recently signed deals worth $27 billion with TotalEnergies that included a gas capture project.

Iraq was the second worst gas flaring nation after Russia in 2020, according to the World Bank.