More accurately, the lack of gas was on the lips of attendees, who attended the recent MEED energy conference.

In 2013, 31 per cent of power in Iraq was generated using gas feedstock, up from 13 per cent in 2009. Baghdad plans to generate 83 per cent of its electricity from gas by 2030, an ambitious target that will free up more oil for export and bridge the wide gulf between demand and supply that has existed since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

A $620bn investment plan has been put in place for the energy and power sectors, and major schemes are planned, including the $17bn South Gas Project.

However, progress has been slow. Factionalism, deteriorating security and rampant corruption mean many critical projects are delayed. Even where power projects have been completed, they are unable to run as they are not connected to the gas network.

Iraq’s challenges are interrelated. Security will not improve while the population is frustrated by corruption, factionalism and blackouts. Building electricity capacity depends on developing an adequate supply of feedstock. And developing the energy and power sectors is hindered by security, politics and greed. Gas is at the centre of all these problems, and getting enough of it to power stations is both challenging and essential.