TEHRAN - Iraqi authorities have reported a major increase in the supply of natural gas from neighboring Iran two days after the Arab country settled nearly $1.7 billion of arrears it owed Iran for previous gas imports, according to a report by Iraq’s NINA news agency.
Iraqi Electricity Ministry spokesman Ahmad Musa has said that imports of natural gas from Iran, which Iraq mostly depends on for electricity generation, had reached 40 million cubic meters (mcm) per day.
Musa said, however, that Iraq would continue to ask for more supplies of gas from Iran as he insisted that the country’s power plants would face record demand for gas over the summer months.
He said Iraq will need 50-55 mcm per day of natural gas from Iran to be able to weather the summer demand, adding that Iran’s initial response to the request has been positive.
The announcement comes after Iranian Petroleum Minister Javad Owji said that Iran will increase the supply of natural gas to Iraq after the Arab country paid back its energy arrears.
Iran had decreased the supply of gas to Iraq on several occasions in recent years after Baghdad failed to pay for its imports under the pretext that such payments would trigger American penalties against the Iraqi banking system.
Iraq has secured special waivers from Washington to be able to import natural gas and electricity from Iran since 2018 when the US pulled out of an international deal on Iran’s nuclear program and imposed sanctions on Tehran.