In 2012, the International Energy Agency (IEA) released the first in-depth study of Iraq’s energy sector. We had an exceptional opportunity to engage with Iraq and produced a unique perspective on the country’s outlook, covering the role of energy in Iraq’s economic and social development as well as the increasingly important role that Iraq was set to play in global energy affairs. That project is still the source of immense pride for me, and represents one of the highlights of my career.
Since that study, Iraq has managed to increase its oil production by nearly half. This is an enormous achievement at a time when Iraq was battling ISIL and contending with a period of volatile oil prices that severely affected its economy. These results are a testament to the country’s tenacity and determination, which gives me hope for what can be achieved in the future.
Our updated report underlines that Iraq will continue to be central to the stability of global oil markets. We also analyse the potential for Iraq to use its natural gas wealth much more productively than it has until now. However, while the oil and gas sectors are fundamentally important, our focus in this analysis is firmly on the electricity sector, which has suffered from decades of underinvestment and underperformance.
Improving the security of electricity supply by reducing the blackouts suffered by most Iraqi families is one of the most urgent challenges facing policy makers. Our analysis identifies ways to alleviate immediate strains on the system, while also setting a pathway towards a more reliable, affordable and sustainable power system in the longer term. This report makes pragmatic and realistic recommendations to the Iraqi government to achieve these goals.
I am convinced that the positive convergence of a number of factors, not least of which is the major improvement in the security situation, offers Iraq a huge opportunity to remedy these issues.
The findings of this report are those of the IEA alone, but the process of producing it has been a collaborative one in which the team has worked closely with counterparts across Iraq. I would like to extend my appreciation to all those that provided their support.
My sincere hope is that the findings in this report will help Iraq build a productive and vibrant society on the foundation of reliable, affordable energy. My colleagues and I at the IEA stand ready to help Iraq on this journey.
Dr. Fatih Birol
International Energy Agency
Click on following link to download the full report as PDF file