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2013-07-24 08:35:00
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U.S. is not alarmed from Iraq and Iran Natural Gas Deal
Baghdad/ UrukPress
 U.S. is not alarmed from Iraq and Iran Natural Gas Deal


baghdad/ urukpress

Iraq has signed an agreement to import natural gas from Iran for power generation, the electricity ministry said on Monday, in a move that could interfere with U.S efforts to cut off funds for Iran's nuclear development.

The announcement on Tuesday of a natural gas deal between Iraq and Iran, with the latter selling gas to the former at international market prices Tuesday, may have stoked fears of an alliance between Iraq and an Islamist regime hostile to America. But it is “not a big deal,” according to a U.S. energy expert.

“Washington is relatively powerless to intervene,” said Simon Henderson, director of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy in Washington, D.C. “The U.S. is more concerned about Iranian overflights of Iraq with arms supplies for Syria.”

Under the contract, Iran will install a pipeline into Iraq and supply it with 850 million cubic feet of gas that will be used to feed three power plants in Baghdad and Diyala provinces, the electricity ministry said.

The deal was signed in a closed-door ceremony in the Iraqi capital Baghdad late on Sunday between Iraq's electricity minister Kareem Aftan and Iranian oil minister Rostam Qasemi. There was no media access to the ceremony.

Under the four-year deal signed in Baghdad Sunday night, Baghdad will buy some 850 million cubic feet a day of Iranian natural gas at international prices to feed two power plants in a northeastern suburb of Baghdad to generate 2,500 megawatts, said Mussab al-Mudaris, a spokesman for the Iraqi ministry of electricity. 

The gas will be fed through a pipeline that is expected to be completed in two months from now. The pipeline will be crossing Iraq from Iran through Diayla province east of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, Mr. al-Mudaris said.
He said that some 90% of work on the pipeline has been completed.

The four-year deal stipulates that Iraq will buy 850 million cubic feet of gas a day at international market prices, Musab al-Mudaris, a spokesman for the Iraqi Electricity Ministry, said.

The gas fields are not fully developed because of sanctions, therefore Iran will be able to sell a minimal amount of gas to Iraq, Henderson said, adding that the gas deposits are not huge.

The announcement comes after Iran's outgoing president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had high-level meetings with Iraqi officials in Baghdad last week. Iranian state-controlled Press TV reported on Friday that Tehran and Baghdad agreed to explore and develop crude oil and natural gas fields along their common border -- the border where they fought a long, devastating war from 1980 to 1988.

“For many years this created problems for the exploitation of these fields. Now it doesn’t,” Henderson said, referring to the new deal between the two countries.

Source/ Agencies