Prime minister Nuri al-Maliki
Baghdad- Jaafar Nassrawi
Prime minister Nuri al-Maliki on Saturday stressed on the need for cooperation with Iran in oil and gas production and the importance of supporting national companies to play a bigger role in the oil industry.
A statement issued by Maliki's office on Saturday said that the PM ina meeting at his office today with Iranian petroleum minister Rustam Ghasemi highlighted the need for cooperation between the two countries in energy production.
Maliki also stressed on the importance of the role of national companies in the oil industry and his willingness to support them.
The statement quoted Ghasemi as saying: "In the Baghdad talks with the ministers of oil and electricity we tackled the issue of supplying Iraq with gas and oil derivatives, and working on extending the pipeline that tranports gas from Iran through Iraq. Iranian companies have the ability to work in oil refining and gas extraction."
Maliki visited Iran on April 22 and 23 and called for the strengthening of relations between Tehran and Baghdad, saying "Iran and Iraq share goals and there is a need to complete previous agreements and raise the level of cooperation in various fields including energy, oil, infrastructure and trade".
Deputy energy minister Hussien al-Shahristani said on the sidelines of a meeting with Iranian energy minister Majid Namjoo in Tehran on May 13 the Iranian companies specialised in the power sector to invest in the country, pointing out that Iraq needed 14,000 megawatts (MW) to cover its electricity needs.
The Iranian energy minister said during the same meeting that his country was seeking to increase the amount of electricity exported to Iraq via the 400 MW Karkhah –Omara line from 650 to 1000 MW by next September, noting that his country's companies will also work to set up 11 stations for the production of electric power in different parts of Iraq, according to the agreement signed between the two countries, which also includes a transmitting D-line through Iraq to Syria and Lebanon.
The Iraqi oil ministry announced on 25 September in 2011 a preliminary approval to extend the Iranian gas pipeline to Syria via Iraq and then to Europe. It indicated that technical committees will be formed to study the project. While the decision received different reactions as the head of the Iraqi Awakening movement, Ahmed Abu Risha, refused to extend the Iranian pipe through the Anbar governorate saying the oil ministry did not have the right to do so. He pointed out that the awakening movement seeks to form new troops to prevent the implementation of the project, which he described as "a new artery to destroy the country".