ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraq has contingency plans for any interruption to its Iranian gas imports, but hopes no such disruption would take place in the future, Oil Minister Thamer Ghadhban said on Thursday.
His comments came during a press conference with reporters taking place in Baghdad.
Iran and Iraq maintain robust political and economic relations. Over the past decade and a half, Baghdad has relied considerably on Tehran to fulfill its economic needs by importing food products and other goods.
The current level of trade between Iraq and Iran stands at about $12 billion annually, according to Iranian media.
After the US in November last year re-imposed sanctions targeting Iran’s financial and energy sectors, Iraq found itself in a difficult position. Iraq maintains strong relations with Washington and Tehran but imports a lot of gas from Iran to run its power grids.
Iraqi local media reported that the oil giant company, ExxonMobil, had evacuated its staff from Iraq due to increasing tensions between the US and Iran.
However, Ghadhban said that international oil companies were operating as normal and assured them that oilfields in the south and north of the country were safe and secure despite increased regional tensions between the United States and Iran, Reuters reported.
Iraq has one of the world’s largest oil reserves and is the second-largest oil producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Editing by Nadia Riva