Iraq to produce 5 million cubic meters of natural gas in five years

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By Husain al-Yaaqoubi

Azzaman, November 12, 2012

The Oil Ministry has unveiled its 5-year plan for the development of the country’s natural gas riches.

The plan calls for the production of five million cubic meters of gas to meet increasing needs for the fuel particularly by power stations and petrochemical industries, said the ministry’s deputy Ahmad al-Shamaa.

“The ministry has put for grabs new exploratory blocks for commercial investment in order to increase (gas) production and reserves,” he said.

Iraq’s proven gas reserves are the world 10th largest.

Despite the hike that is expected in production by the end of the plan, Shamaa said the output would still fall short of meeting domestic needs.

Iraq currently imports natural gas from Iran and the countries are building a gas pipeline expected to go on stream next year.

Shamaa said it was essential for Iraq to increase its gas output if it wanted to earn more hard cash from its oil sales.

The more gas we produce, he said, the more crude oil we can reserve for exports.

Currently, most of the country’s power plants rely on fuel oil and kerosene is still widely used for heating and cooking in the country.