The Iraqi government has said several power plants in the country have ceased operations due to a sharp drop in natural gas imports from Iran.
Iraqi electricity ministry spokesman Ahmed Moussa said on Tuesday that Iran’s cutbacks in gas supplies have caused widespread electricity shortages, especially in central and southern parts of the country. .
According to Moussa, Iran has cut its gas exports to Iraq from 50 million cubic meters per day to about 8.5 million, cutting off about 4,000 megawatts from the national grid, which now only carries 13,000 megawatts.
Iraq, which depends on Iran for about a third of its electricity, needs about 35,000 megawatts of electricity during peak winter demand, with only about a third available now.
The reason for the drop is attributed to billions of dollars in unpaid bills by Baghdad, due to US banking sanctions against Iran. But the decline in Iran’s gas supplies may also be the result of a recent accident in a pipeline in Iran, which shut down one of the units at the South Pars gas field, reducing by at least 15 million cubic meters daily production, which Iran desperately needs.
Last winter, Iran experienced major power cuts in large cities. Demonstrations have erupted a few times. When authorities began to burn mazut, a dirty unrefined fuel to generate electricity, it caused heavy pollution in the cities, adding to popular anger.