Iraq continues to be burn natural gas produced in association with oil at a rate that is without parallel in the Middle East, the MEED Iraq Power & Gas Projects 2011 Conference was told on 13 June.

Luay al-Khateeb, executive director of the Iraq Energy Institute,said that about 700 million standard cubic feet a day (cf/d) of gas was being flared, mainly in southern oil fields. This compares with total gas production of 1.7 billion cf/d. Khateeb said that Iraq could now be the world’s second largest gas-flaring nation.

“The Ministry of Oil has failed drastically by not investing in gas production since 2003,” Khateeb said. He said the result was that Iraqi power stations are mainly burning liquid feedstocks.

Khateeb said that his forecast shows that Iraq will consume about 9 billion cf/d in 2030. He said that this would absorb all the gas that could be produced in Iraq that year.

“We really need to rationalise electricity consumption in Iraq,” Khateeb said. “The government should not commit to any LNG or gas export scheme for now. The Ministry of Oil and Ministry of Electricity need to align their plans and get away from using liquids in power stations. Parliament needs to pass investor-friendly laws to promote investment and investors need to engage with IOCs working in Iraq.”