Oil Sales Surge While Cities Are Beset by Blackouts

June 4th, 2008 - by admin

Jumaa Suhail / Azzaman & Fawzi Hindawi / Azzaman – 2008-06-04 00:10:23


Military Operations Hamper Power Repairs
Jumaa Suhail / Azzaman

(June 3, 2008) — Several Iraqi cities have plunged into total darkness with Electricity Ministry blaming ongoing military operations for failure to carry out necessary repairs. There has been no electricity in Baghdad for the past 48 hours and power conditions in other major cities are said to be worse.

In a statement, the ministry said its engineers and technicians have failed to bring major power plants on stream and on time because of mounting insecurity. It cited recent military operations in the southern city of Basra, in Sadr City of Baghdad and the northern city of Mosul.

Apart from security, the statement said fuel shortages were behind the stoppage of major plants running on gas oil. “We need 7.7 million liters of gas oil a day for these plants while we get 2.5 million,” the statement said.

The ministry issued the statement in response to a Friday sermon in which Shaikh Jalaludeen al-Sagheer slammed the authorities for their failure to provide the country with continuous power supply.

Sagheer directly blamed Electricity Minister Kareem Waheed for the shortages and asked Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to sack him.

The statement said the ministry was not directly to blame for the shortages. It cited low water levels in Iraqi dams due to this year’s drought as another reason for lower power output from hydraulic plants. It urged the government to increase fuel imports via neighboring countries, particularly of gas oil.

Power output is erratic in Iraq. Although the country has a potential to produce more than 5,000 megawatts a day, the rate is rarely attained.

The ministry says the plants it has under construction could add nearly 5,000 more megawatts to output in two years. Iraq’s needs are estimated at 12,000 megawatts.

Iraq Oil Revenues Soar as Country Plans to
Add 400,000 New Barrels to Output

Fawzi Hindawi / Azzaman

(June 1, 2008) — Iraq has earned $21 billion in the first four months of this year from oil sales, Oil Minister Hussein Shahristani has revealed. It is the biggest sum of hard cash ever to be collected by the war-torn country in four months.

But Shahristani had even more good news for the impoverished and almost imploded country which the US invaded in 2003 and has occupied since.

He said Iraq, holding one of the world’s largest oil reserves of nearly 114 billion barrels, was to add 400,000 additional barrels to its current output of about 2.5 million barrels a day.

He did not say when the huge boost in production will occur but the stream of hard cash is certain to make the investment easy.

At the current rate of production, Iraq earmarks more than 2 million barrels a day for exports. With skyrocketing prices in international markets, the country’s earnings are expected to exceed $70 billion this year.