Iran’s Minister of Energy Reza Ardakanian has confirmed that his country will resume full natural gas exports to Iraq after reducing the supplies due to unpaid bills, which caused an acute electricity shortage in Iraq.
In an official statement issued on Tuesday in Baghdad, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi met Ardakanian, who’s leading a delegation of high-ranking Iranian officials to Baghdad, to discuss the bilateral relations and means to boost cooperation, reports Xinhua news agency.
“Ardakanian conveyed the Iranian government’s pledge to urgently resume pumping Iranian gas, which was recently slashed due to technical reasons,” the statement said, without giving further details.
During his visit, Ardakanian also held meetings with Iraqi Minister of Electricity Majid Hantoush, Minister of Trade Alaa al-Jubouri and Iraqi Central Bank Governor Mustafa Mukheef.
During the meetings, the two sides discussed financial cooperation, including Iraq’s payment of dues for importing Iranian gas and electricity, the official Iraqiya TV reported.
Ardakanian’s visit aimed to settle Iraq’s energy debts to Iran, which have amounted to more than $5 billion for gas imports from Iran, in addition to $1 billion for electricity imports.
Due to the unpaid bills, Iran slashed its natural gas exports to Iraq from 50 million cubic metres to 5 million two weeks ago, causing an acute power shortage in Iraq, according to Iraqi Ministry of Electricity.