Source: Press TV
Iran has moved closer to starting crucial natural gas exports to Iraq.
The National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) said on Saturday that preliminary tests have been carried out over 50 kilometers of the final stretch of the pipeline which has been installed to take gas to Iran's western neighbor.
The next test will be carried out over the remaining 47 kilometers of the pipeline - that runs from Charmaleh in Iran's Ilam province and ends in the border city of Naftshahr - in the near future, NIGC added.
Exports will accordingly start once the final test over the remaining part of the pipeline is carried out, Shana news agency reported.
Iran plans to export a daily of 4 million cubic meters (mcm) of natural gas to Iraq within weeks. This will be increased to 40 mcm/d during summers.
With a total length of 270 kilometers, the Iran-Iraq gas pipeline stretches from Assaluyeh, near the massive offshore South Pars oil and gas field in southern Iran, and continues into Iraq to feed two power plants near Baghdad. The plants are expected to provide enough electricity to support as much as 160,000 households.
Iraq faces a sharply rising demand for power and outages for several hours every day are common across the country. Iraqi power plants can only provide 10,000 megawatts of electricity of the 14,000 megawatts needed. The country even has to import a certain volume of electricity from Iran and Turkey to fully satisfy domestic needs.
Iraq's power shortage is specifically felt during summer when consumption rises by at least 50 percent, based on estimates provided by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).
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