ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iran says it will increase its natural gas exports to the Iraqi capital of Baghdad by about 45 percent as part of a deal agreed between the two sides last year.
Behzad Babazadeh, the director of international affairs of the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC), said Tehran would increase its gas exports to 14 million cubic meters per day (mcm/d) from the current nine million.
“A deal was signed between Iraq and Iran to export gas to Baghdad in June 2017, and the figure will increase to 14 mcm/d in the second year based on the agreement reached between the two countries,” Babazadeh was quoted as saying by Iran’s Shana.
Both Iran and Iraq are members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The contract signed involved the supply of about six mcm/d in the first year to the expected 14 mcm/d in 2018.
According to the NIGC director, exports were also expected to reach up to 35 mcm/d during the third year of the pact.
Iraq and Iran had signed another deal involving the swap of crude from Kirkuk for Iranian oil for one year, subject to renewal.
Tanker trucks were to deliver crude oil from the disputed territory which fell to Iraqi forces and pro-Iran Shia militias in October last year.
However, the Iranian Ministry of Petroleum in April said Baghdad’s unpreparedness and technical issues in Iraq had delayed the oil swap deal.
The deal, which was signed by Baghdad unilaterally, without discussions with the Kirkuk Provincial Council or parliament, raised concerns among locals who criticized the federal government for failing to build a single refinery in the province.
Kirkuk is one of the largest oilfields in the Middle East, estimated to contain around nine billion barrels of recoverable oil.