Iraq's New $6-trillion Energy Strategy

By John Lee.

Iraq unveiled a new energy strategy on Wednesday that aims to raise $6 trillion from oil and gas sales by 2030 and massively increase local power generation, reports AFP.

The Integrated National Energy Strategy (INES) would see Iraq invest $620 billion in the sector over nearly 20 years.

Thamir Ghadhban (pictured), former oil minister and the head of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's advisory committee, said:

"The strategic goals of the plan are to meet local energy needs, maximise government revenues, encourage economic diversification and improve the standard of living and create jobs."

It recommends that Iraq increase its oil production from about 3.4 million barrels per day (bpd) now to 4.5 million bpd by 2014, and double that by 2020 in its "medium" scenario.

It forecasts that all domestic energy requirements could be met by 2022.

It also calls for diversifying Iraq's oil-dependent economy to add 10 million new jobs, with planners arguing that by 2020, non-energy sectors of the economy will grow faster than oil and gas.

It projects that Iraq will raise about $6 trillion in revenues by 2030, about 85 percent of which will come from oil exports.

Mahdi al-Hafidh, Baghdad-based analyst and former planning minister, told The Associated Press that the plan is "very important" for the future of Iraq, but political infighting and instability could hamper it:

"There is no doubt that it is very important to guarantee political stability, to defuse political tension and to enable the government to have real authority all over the country."

(Sources: AFP, The Associated Press)

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