Despite relative success in stemming the advance of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants, Kurdish security forces faced their first major defeat on Thursday.
Sources report that Kurdish security forces have been forced to withdraw and that the vital Mosul Dam now lays under control of the extremists. The dam poses a safety risk to those Iraqis living in the flood plain, but also represents a means of income for ISIL.
The dam was also a focus point for almost $30 million USD during the American occupation. ISIL continues to fight for control of Iraq’s second largest dam, Haditha Dam, in Anbar province.
Kurdish forces had previously been successful in preventing the advance of ISIL militants. Kurdish security forces are not equipped to deal with ISIL militants, who are believed to be using captured American-grade military equipment that was left behind by Iraqi security forces.
Iraq’s electricity shortages cannot be resolved unless sufficient fuel flows to the power plants feeding Iraq’s national grid, according to Dr Jafar D. Jafar, co-founder and CEO of Uruk Engineering & Contracting, addressing a recent conference.
Uruk’s CEO highlighted the short-fall in fuel availability, particularly gas, currently impacting Iraq’s power generation capacity. He noted that the current gas fuel shortage has decreased Iraq’s power availability on the national grid by at least 3000 MW.
Major Power plants such as Nainawa (6×125 MW), Al-Mansurya (4×182 MW) and Rumaila (5×290 MW) are idle because of lack of fuel. The irony is that Iraq is currently flaring more than 900 million standard cubic feet per day of associated gas in the South whereas major power plants are shut down because of lack of gas.
Peak power supplied from Iraq’s national grid has exceeded 12,000 MW and electricity peak demand is estimated at 16,000 MW. Therefore, these currently idle power plants would go a long way towards reducing black outs during the long Summer months.
Dr. Jafar also noted that gas as a fuel for power generation is the best choice when compared with liquid fuel options such as light distillate or diesel, crude oil or heavy fuel oil (HFO). Gas is best from the environmental view point and from every other standpoint.
For example, power plants operating on gas require the least maintenance and provide the highest availability when compared with power plants operating on liquid fuels.
Ensuring Iraq’s long- term electricity security will require a number of bold and aggressive steps to be taken not only by the government; but also by the international oil companies (IOCs) that have development contracts in the country.
This article constitutes an introduction on the recent history of Iraq’s electricity sector followed by a Q and A with Mr. Istepanian.
As Iraq endures the most serious terrorist offensive since 2004, what is certain is that this year a separate fight will continue to improve services, also crucial to the legitimacy of the government.
Iraq’s electricity sector today has overcome many challenges since it’s heyday before the onset of hostilities at the start of the 1991 Gulf War.
But the mountain is only half climbed, because although the spring 2014 saw almost 24 hour electricity in parts of the country for the first time since Operation Desert Storm, the situation is tenuous. With the arrival of summer and its associated need for full blast air conditioning, demand will surge again and we could soon be seeing the power outages Iraqis have become too familiar with.
A casualty of war
Twenty three years ago, as coalition aircraft massed in the Gulf to attack Saddam’s power base in Iraq, the country was producing more than enough electricity, over 9000 MW. This development arose from Saddam’s spending sprees of the 1970s and 80s where the nationalised oil industry produced a windfall of petrodollars, which the Ba’ath Party was keen to spend on infrastructure. The good times soon ground to a halt however, with the immense expenditure incurred by Iraq’s war effort against Iran. Nonetheless, the lights stayed on until the electricity infrastructure was targeted as a part of the coalition air campaign to cripple Saddam’s million strong armed forces.
The Kurdistan Regional Government has announced the successful delivery via pipeline of the first quantities of natural gas from the gas field at Summail to fuel the Duhok Power Station (pictured).
The Summail Gas Field lies within the area of the Duhok Production Sharing Contract (PSC) and is operated by the Norwegian company DNO, which together with Anglo-Turkish PSC partner Genel Energy, signed a landmark gas sales agreement (GSA) with the KRG on 18 September 18 2013.
Long-term deliveries are expected to reach 120 million cubic feet per day sold on a take-or-pay basis for the duration of the production, showing the KRG can successfully develop its newly discovered gas assets in Kurdistan.
Under the long-term GSA, the KRG will purchase up to 120mmscf/d. Initial volumes will start at around 55mmscf/d, ramping up to 120mmscf/d within the next few months, and thereafter itis hoped that gas production will eventually rise to around 200mmscf/d.
The Duhok Power Station is a 750 MW power plant in the city of Duhok, located 40 kilometres from the field. The power station’s six turbines have been run on expensive diesel until now, due to significant delays in originally expected gas deliveries from the Khor Mor area. Each of the turbines consumes around 24 million litres per month of diesel, or around 27.50mmscf/d natural gas.
The locally-produced natural gas will displace diesel from the power station and is part of a KRG strategy to save the people of Kurdistan millions of dollars every year in costly diesel imports for power generation.
Natural Resources Minister Ashti Hawrami said that the successful commissioning of the Duhok Power Station operated by Mass Global, the Kurdistan main and feeder gas pipelines constructed by Kar Group, and the Summail gas facilities built by DNO, represented a significant step forward for the Kurdistan Region.
Korean company LSIS said on Wednesday that it has signed a $52 million deal with the Iraqi government to supply its patented advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) solutions.
The company will supply 110,000 smart meters that track energy consumption at power transmission centers in Iraq. The transmission centers will then share all relevant information with the power distribution control center to simplify smart grid management. LSIS will also build 19 AMI centers across the country.
According to a report from the Korea Times, the deal brings the company’s total business dealings in Iraq to $500 million since 2011, most of it in power plant contruction.
“The latest achievement means that LSIS can supply integrated electricity solutions in all related areas other than power development in Iraq,” said spokesman Kim Bong-kyu.
Alstom has been awarded a contract worth approximately €225 million to provide power generation equipment for the Al-Anbar gas-fired combined-cycle power plant being built in the Anbar province in Iraq.
A consortium of Metka SA and Metka Overseas Ltd is building the power plant for the Ministry of Electricity of Iraq.
The 1,642 MW power plant, due to be commissioned in 2016, will add much needed electricity to the Iraqi grid. Once in operation, it will be one of the largest and most efficient combined-cycle power plants in Iraq.
Under the scope of the contract, Alstom will supply four highly efficient GT26 gas turbines, four Heat Recovery Steam Generators (HRSG’s), two steam turbines and six air-cooled turbogenerators.
Commenting on the contract, Steve Meszaros, Senior Vice-President of Alstom’s Gas business said:
“The Middle East is the most promising market for gas-fired generation and we are extremely pleased at expanding our presence in this region. Alstom has been a steady partner in the reconstruction of Iraq’s energy infrastructure and we are confident that our superior technology will make Al-Anbar a flagship project for the country”.
Alstom is currently constructing the Al-Mansuriya (728MW) gas-fired power plant in the Diyala Governorate, northeast of Baghdad and has also recently signed the 740 MW Zubair contract with ENI Iraq B.V. These plants are based on the GT13E2 gas turbine.
Alstom has also supplied the gas turbine for the Al-Najaf power plant that went into operation last year. Alstom continues to support the rehabilitation of Iraq’s existing installed base including unit 1 of the Najaf gas-fired power station, 160 km south of Baghdad.