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Iran lowers gas exports to Iraq, threatens further cuts

Iran has reduced the amount of natural gas it exports to Iraq while threatening with further cuts over unpaid bills.
A picture shows a general view of the phase 17-18 of the South Pars gas field facilities in the southern Iranian port town of Assaluyeh on the shore of the Gulf on November 19, 2015. Several leaders from a dozen gas producing countries -- who together hold 67 percent of proven reserves -- will take part in the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) summit in Tehran on November 23. AFP PHOTO / ATTA KENARE (Photo credit should read ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images)

Iran has reduced the amount of natural gas it exports to Iraq while threatening with further cuts over unpaid bills.

The move is likely to deepen electricity shortage in Baghdad and other major cities.

Unimplemented step

Iraqi Ministry of Electricity spokesman Ahmed Moussa said Iraq has been receiving 5 million cubic meters per-day since Iran cut its daily exports from 50 million weeks ago.

He added the Iranian government had informed Iraq it would reduce its supplies to 3 million per-day as of Sunday. However, it did not implemented the step yet.

Iran began cutting gas exports to its neighbor, the second-largest oil producer in the OPEC, after Iraq defaulted payments.

Moussa says Iraq owes Iran about $2.7 billion unpaid bills.

Attempts to solve the problem

Iranian Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian will meet Iraqi officials in Baghdad on Tuesday to discuss the issue.

Moussa said energy production decreased by about 7 gigawatts due to gas supply restrictions. electricity shortage hardest-hit Baghdad and other central cities.

While Iraq’s supplies of Iranian gas were disrupted, its electricity imports continued as usual.

Iraqi Ministry of Electricity announced 6,000 megawatts electric power loss as result of supply cut.

As a result, Qudis Gas Power Plant, Sader Gas Power Plant, Besmaya Power Plant in Baghdad, and Mansuriyya Power Plant in Diyala governorate have stopped. In conjunction, the ministry closed other power plants for maintenance. This caused power production to decline to unprecedented levels.

The ministry said low temperatures in Iran caused the shortage. It claimed that there were more internal consumption and the cold caused the gas pipelines to freeze.

Residents have been protesting for many years against frequent power cuts, especially in summer as temperatures sometimes reach 50 degrees.

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