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 (6x125 MW), Al-Mansurya (4x182 MW) and Rumaila (5x290 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.