BAGHDAD, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Iraq's electricity ministry said
Iranian gas supplied to the central and southern regions was
reduced to 8 million cubic metres per day from 49 million,
causing a risk of serious power shortages.
The ministry said in a statement on Wednesday that there has
been contact with the Iranian energy ministry and Iran's embassy
in Baghdad to clarify the reasons for the reduction.
A senior official in the National Iranian Gas Company
(NIGC)said early on Thursday that the export reduction of 38
million cubic meters per day is based on a six-month agreement
with Baghdad and with prior notice, oil Ministry's SHANA website
"Iran had announced this reduction in exports to Iraq two
weeks ago ... has nothing to do with their arrears to Iran,
although the need to settle the debts is still on the agenda,
and according to the agreement this amount of export reduction
will continue for up to 6 months," the official added.
A reduction in Iranian gas supplies led the Iraqi national
power system to lose about 5500 megawatts, the ministry said in
The United States has repeatedly extended by 90 or 120 days
a sanctions exemption to allow Baghdad to import Iranian energy
after Washington reimposed sanctions on Tehrans oil sector
forbidding countries from purchasing Iranian energy.
The United States has insisted that Iraq, OPECs
second-largest producer, move towards self-sufficiency as a
condition for its exemption for importing Iranian energy, yet
Baghdad has struggled to do so, in part due to low oil prices.
(Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed and Alaa Swilam in Cairo; editing
by Louise Heavens and Grant McCool)