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Iraq opens hybrid gas-steam plant in line with electricity industry upgrade plan

The Iraqi government also announces changes to the national electricity system to make electricity production more efficient in the coming years
PHOTO/TASS/SUMA/AHMAD HALABISAZ - Empresas como la compañía Rosneft tienen acuerdos de cooperación estratégica con la Compañía Nacional de Petróleo de Irán

PHOTO/TASS/SUMA/AHMAD HALABISAZ  -   Companies such as Rosneft have strategic cooperation agreements with the National Iranian Oil Company.

After facing a long process of electricity instability, Iraq continues on its path towards improving its electricity infrastructure and restoring it. The country has just inaugurated a new hybrid plant in the southwest of the country that will run on gas and steam. According to the official Iraqi News Agency, this new building will be capable of producing some 750 MW of electricity. 

The Iraqi government's plans are still on track. The news source claims that this is a plant that will guarantee a good quality of electricity to the national grid. It added that the gas it needs to operate is of Iraqi origin, produced in the Maysan fields. The government says that, given the current situation, any innovation or project is a development in the field of energy production. 

The plant will soon start operating in two phases to produce electricity. In this way, a reduction of damage and waste of energy is ensured which leads to minimal gas and carbon emission. This ensures that the environment is protected while electricity production is better and more efficient. 

AFP/SABAH ARAR - Un hombre iraquí trabaja en los cables el 16 de julio de 2021, de un proveedor privado de generadores eléctricos en el distrito de Ciudad Sadr de Bagdad
AFP/SABAH ARAR - An Iraqi man works on the wires on July 16, 2021, of a private supplier of electricity generators in the Sadr City district of Baghdad

The plant will feature an innovative and new system for a country like Iraq that has yet to upgrade its entire national electricity system. This building will include a gas turbine unit produced by the German firm Siemens, advanced ring combustion room with individually replaceable heat shields, and an improved hydraulic disposal regime that reduces free space losses and increases the likelihood that corrosion will be reduced and the infrastructure will last much longer. 

As a result of these developments, the Iraqi electricity system has improved its additional production by more than 50% with the implementation of new gas-fired plants. Moreover, these have no additional fuel consumption, as they take advantage of heat exchangers and steam turbines that ensure that no heat escapes from the gases. These tubes also come from Siemens and have a production capacity of around 329 MW. Their simple cycle works with an efficiency of up to 41%, while the installed cycle has an efficiency of 58%. 

AFP/HUSSEIN FALEH - Instalación de procesamiento en Artawi, cerca de la ciudad portuaria de Basora, en el sur de Irak
AFP/HUSSEIN FALEH - Processing facility in Artawi, near the southern Iraqi port city of Basra

Coinciding with the opening of this new plant, the Ministry of Electricity has announced that the country will enter into a new energy plan. This project will include different types of energy sources, alternative financing, energy augmentation and elimination through the transport and distribution sector. By 2025, Iraq will achieve an additional production of 44,000 MW per year.

Currently, the Gulf nation produces 20,000 MW of electricity, far short of the 24,000 MW it needs to cover its energy costs. Although energy is still scarce today, it is expected to grow by 2050 around the UN's projection of a doubling of its population.
 
A decades-long problem

Iraq has been suffering from energy shortages for decades due to various wars, Daesh and Iranian control. Over the years, the country has been involved in large demonstrations because of these problems, as the government has been forced to cut the electricity, especially in summer, when air conditioning is needed due to the high temperatures. 

PHOTO/AFP - Buque cisterna de gas natural licuado (GNL) qatarí siendo cargado con GNL en el puerto marítimo de Raslaffans, al norte de Qatar
PHOTO/AFP - Qatari liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker being loaded with LNG at the seaport of Raslaffans in northern Qatar.

It should be noted that this situation has resulted in the Ministry of Electricity having to work according to the system of scheduled outages to equip people with electricity during some hours of the day. Meanwhile, some residents had to buy electricity from private plants to compensate for the power shortage.

To find the solution, the government has tried to introduce more than five partnerships to restore the service of large power plants. But all have been in vain as they have never been reinstated for reasons such as lack of understanding, corruption and bureaucracy.