To keep Baghdad away from Iranian energy ... Washington is pushing for a new Iraqi-Saudi project
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Economy News - Baghdad
An American newspaper reported, on Monday, that the United States is pushing for a new Saudi-Iraqi project to invest in the energy field, noting that it is "towards completion."
The Wall Street Journal said that the United States is seeking to integrate Iraq with its neighbors in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries to invest in the energy field, indicating that the US President Donald Trump's administration has urged Baghdad to move forward towards cooperation with these countries in the project of connecting the electricity network, It is a step to reduce Baghdad's dependence on Iranian energy.
Washington had granted Iraq an exemption from the sanctions imposed on importing Iranian energy, for humanitarian reasons related to plunging Baghdad into darkness without this energy, at a time when Iraq is trying to reduce its dependence on Tehran.
The networking project has been the subject of intense consultations in recent months, as it was discussed during the visit of the Iraqi Prime Minister, Mustafa Al-Kazemi to Washington last week.
Last Friday, the Iraqi Finance Minister, Ali Allawi, said that the project "is about to be defined, designed and put up for tenders," adding, "The electrical network in Iraq is likely to be linked to the networks of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait."
On the other hand, a spokesman for the Saudi Energy Minister confirmed that the agreement "is progressing towards completion" and includes an option for a direct link between Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
"We were working on this," says a senior Trump administration official, referring to the Iraqi electricity grid connected to the Gulf Cooperation Council countries.
Saudi Arabia recently started talks about potential investments in the $ 2.2 billion Artawi field project, which aims to redirect the large amounts of natural gas that Iraq is wasting toward power generation, according to the Iraqi Finance Minister and a Saudi oil official.
The spokesman for the Saudi Energy Minister added that Riyadh is also studying joint investments in solar energy inside Iraq and electricity exports from renewable projects in Saudi Arabia to supply Iraq.
Iraqi-Gulf relations were severed after the invasion of Kuwait by former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in 1990, before the United States established an international coalition to liberate Kuwait in February 1991.
After the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, governments close to Tehran dominated in Baghdad, where Riyadh accused these governments of standing by the Iranian regime.
With the arrival of Al-Kazemi at the head of the Iraqi government recently, this choice prompted Iraq's efforts to improve its relationship with Riyadh and other Gulf countries.
Iraq is facing increasing difficulties in meeting the increasing demand for electricity, as problems with the electrical network have exacerbated, but Baghdad needs to modernize the electrical infrastructure, in order to be able to receive the flow of energy from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
Last Thursday, Al-Kazemi told reporters, after a meeting with President Trump, that US officials had helped facilitate meetings in recent months between Iraqi electricity and energy officials and their counterparts in the Gulf states.
The spokesman for the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity, Ahmed Moussa, said, on August 17, that the first phase of the Gulf interconnection needs 14 months.
Moussa added, according to the Iraqi News Agency, that if the Gulf side begins implementing the first stage of the Gulf interconnection, they need a time limit of about 14 months to complete this stage at 500 MW.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Electricity indicated that Iraq has completed the Faw Abu Flus Line No. 1 and the Al Faw Transfer Station 400, and the “Faw Aboflos Line No. 2” remains, in which the work completion rate has reached 60%, confirming that the Governor of Basra has pledged to complete this line and thus Iraq has completed 80% of the objects.