BAGHDAD, April 17 Iraq plans to build three new
plants to process natural gas currently being flared at southern
oil fields, and use the fuel for power generation and to
increase the nation's income from energy exports, Oil Minister
Jabar al-Luaibi said on Monday.
Iraq is forced to flare some of the gas produced alongside
crude oil as it lacks the facilities needed to capture and
process it into usable fuel.
The country has just one gas processing company, the Basrah
Gas Company, a joint venture between Iraq state-run South Gas
Co., Shell and Mitsubishi.
"The ministry is seeking to end the flaring of associated
gas in the next few years, despite the economic and financial
challenges," Luaibi said in an emailed statement.
Iraq's natural gas output will triple to 1,700 million cubic
feet per day by 2018, as the nation implements projects to
reduce flaring, Luaibi told an energy conference in Baghdad on
OPEC's second-largest crude producer after Saudi Arabia,
Iraq is seeking to increase its oil and gas income which account
for nearly all its public budget.
The country has struggled to pay its bills since crude
prices dropped in 2014, the same year Islamic State militants
seized a third of its territory.
(Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed, editing by David Evans)