Iran has slashed its gas supply to Iraq’s electric power stations feeding the country’s southern and central parts by 19 million cubic meters per day, cutting down 1,000 megawatts of electricity, according to the Iraqi government.
'The rates of Iranian gas being supplied to the production stations in the central regions and Baghdad have been reduced from 34 million cubic meters to 20 million cubic meters per day,' the Ministry of Electricity said in a statement.
Gas supplied to the southern regions has also declined 'from 17 million cubic meters to 12 million cubic meters per day', the statement said, adding that the country lost about 1,000 megawatts of electricity in total.
The statement did not explain the reasons behind the Iranian decision.
It noted that 'great and high coordination” has taken place between the country’s duo ministries of electricity and oil to compensate for the gas lost following the Iranian move.
There was no comment from Iran on the Iraqi statement.
However, Iran’s state gas company announced in December last year that it had slashed gas supplies to Iraq over non-payment of dues, placing Baghdad at the risk of serious power shortages. The decision was reversed days later after the two countries reached an agreement over the disbursement of outstanding debt.
In recent weeks, electricity transmission lines have been the target of attacks by suspected Daesh/ISIS militants in the northern provinces of Salahuddin, Diyala, and Kirkuk.
Iraq generates between 19,000-21,000 megawatts while the actual need exceeds 30,000 megawatts, according to officials in the Electricity Ministry.
For years, Baghdad has imported 1,200 megawatts of electricity from neighboring Iran to feed local electric power plants.
Reporting by Ali Jawad in Baghdad
Writing by Ibrahim Mukhtar