Power crisis worsens with domestic gas supply disruptions

Severe electricity shortages come at a politically sensitive time, highlighting the chronic weakness of Iraq's energy infrastructure and its over-reliance on Iranian imports.
A worker walks in front of a power plant in Taza, near Kirkuk, on April 30, 2006. (STRINGER/Reuters)

BASRA - Iraq's electricity supply is suffering severe disruptions because of natural gas shortages — a crisis that underscores the weakness of the country's energy infrastructure and its overreliance on Iran for imported fuel and power.

The gas shortages have knocked out about 6,500 MW of power generation capacity, according to an Electricity Ministry official. The cuts have been especially sharp in recent days due to a confluence of factors, including reduced production of both crude and associated gas at southern oil fields, cold weather that has taken gas compressors offline, pipeline maintenance, and Iranian cuts to gas and power exports due to high domestic demand.

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