US signs gas agreements with Iraq to lower reliance on Iranian energy, reduce flaring

US signs gas agreements with Iraq to lower reliance on Iranian energy, reduce flaring

Shafaq News/ The US has signed two agreements to help Iraq reduce its highly polluting and wasteful gas flaring, the countries announced late April 15 during Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani's visit to Washington for talks with President Joe Biden.

Iraq, which aims to eliminate gas flaring by 2028, flared more than 17.9 Bcm of natural gas in 2022, the second highest amount globally, just behind Russia, according to World Bank data.

The process -- which wastes resources that could be used for power generation -- leaves Iraq dependent on imported Iranian gas and power supplies.

The US and Iraq signed two memorandums of understanding to capture and process associated gas to be used for electricity generation in the Middle Eastern country and to "allow Iraq to benefit from the US private sector's leading technology and expertise," according to a State Department briefing during Sudani's visit.

In March, Iraq's oil ministry said it would work with Siemens Energy and SLB, formerly known as Schlumberger, to process associated gas that would otherwise be flared as a byproduct of its crude production.

Iraq, which aims for energy self-sufficiency by 2030, is working to reduce its reliance on Iranian electricity and gas supplies, which are subject to sanctions, requiring the US to issue waivers every four months. The last sanctions waiver was approved on March 13, and US officials have repeatedly pressured Iraq to make further progress on reducing its Iranian energy imports.

Iraq faces frequent power outages, particularly during the peak air conditioning season in the summer, which have previously led to civil unrest and deadly protests.

OPEC's second-biggest crude producer Iraq pumped 4.28 million b/d of oil in March, according to the latest the latest Platts OPEC+ survey by S&P Global Commodity Insights.

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