Iraq was the world's fourth-largest natural gas-flaring country in 2014, as more than half of its gross natural gas production was flared, and the country is taking steps to reduce flaring and instead use its natural gas resources more for power generation and for reinjection into wells to enhance oil recovery, according to the US Energy Information Administration's (EIA) Country Analysis Brief report on Iraq.
Iraq's proved natural gas reserves stood at nearly 112 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) at the end of 2015, accordong to the Oil & Gas Journal. About three-quarters of Iraq's natural gas reserves are associated with oil, most of which lie in the supergiant fields in the south.
Iraqi gross natural gas production was 771 billion cubic feet (Bcf) in 2014, of which 454 Bcf was flared, according to OPEC's Annual Statistical Bulletin. In 2014, Iraq was the fourth-largest natural gas-flaring country in the world, behind Russia, Iran, and Venezuela.
EIA believes that Iraq's plans to export natural gas remain controversial because natural gas is needed as feedstock for Iraq's electric power plants. The shortage of adequate gas has resulted in idle and suboptimal electricity generation in Iraq, the EIA said.
EIA's report mentioned that prior to the 1990-91 Gulf War, Iraq exported natural gas to Kuwait. The gas came from the Rumaila field through a 105-mile, 400 million cubic feet per day pipeline to Kuwait's central processing center at Ahmadi. Iraq's Ministry of Oil has discussed reviving the mothballed pipeline, but there are no firm plans, the report said.
The Iraqi government has also considered proposals to build a transcontinental pipeline to export natural gas to Europe via nearby countries, but there are no firm plans, the EIA stressed.