Iraq at risk of power shortages after Iran reduced gas supply

BAGHDAD, Sept 1 (Reuters) - Iraq’s electricity ministry said on Wednesday that Iranian gas supplied to the central and southern regions was reduced from 49 million to 8 million cubic metres per day, causing a risk of serious power shortages.

A reduction in Iranian gas supplies led the national power system to lose about 5500 megawatts, the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said that there has been contact with the Iranian energy ministry and Iran’s embassy in Baghdad to clarify the reasons for the reduction, the statement added.

Washington has repeatedly extended by 90 or 120 days a sanctions exemption to allow Baghdad to import Iranian energy after Washington reimposed sanctions on Tehran’s oil sector forbidding countries from purchasing Iranian energy.

The United States has insisted that oil-rich Iraq, OPEC’s second-largest producer, move towards self-sufficiency as a condition for its exemption for importing Iranian energy, yet Baghdad has struggled to do so, in part due to low oil prices.

Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed, editing by Louise Heavens