News & Reports News Year 2010 December , 2010 Iraq to boost energy sector

Iraq to boost energy sector

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Iraq’s oil output will rise 17 percent to 2.75 million barrels a day early next year because of investments by international companies, Oil Minister Hussain al- Shahristani said in an interview.

The country, holder of the world’s fifth-largest oil reserves, now produces about 2.35 million barrels of crude a day. The minister spoke in Baghdad Saturday.

Meanwhile, Iraq invited bids for the construction of four power plants to boost power-generation capacity by 2,750 megawatts, the electricity ministry said.

The bids will be for a 1,250 megawatt plant near the southern port city of Basra, and three 500 megawatt plants in the cities of Samawa, Diwaniya and Amarah, the ministry said on its website.

The four should be built within 18 months, Sami al-Araji, head of the country’s National Investment Commission, said in an interview on Nov. 28.

Iraq is struggling to raise power output, which was about 8,000 megawatts in April, just more than half of its domestic demand of about 14,000 megawatts, according to government figures. Iraqis currently receive power from the national grid for an average of about one in every five hours.

Former Electricity Minister Karim Wahid quit in June amid violent street protests triggered by severe seasonal summer power shortages. Wahid said at the time that his efforts to overcome the problem had been thwarted by a lack of funding and fuel.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki called in June for patience and said it would take two years for power plants being built by General Electric Co. and Siemens AG to come online and help resolve power shortages.

The finance ministry said in June that it would issue bonds to pay for contracts signed in 2008 with GE and Siemens to add almost 9,000 megawatts of capacity.
(Source: Bloomberg)