A high-voltage power line in Iraq has been targeted by Islamist militants eight times over the past two months, the country’s electricity ministry said, adding the latest attack caused power outages across three provinces.
Power outages have been among the reasons for protests in several Iraqi cities over the past month, but at least some of these have been caused by IS attacks, it seems. Although Iraq’s PM declared victory over the terrorist group at the end of last year after the battle for Mosul, there are still groups of IS militants remaining in the country, including near Kirkuk, in northern Iraq.
While some outages have resulted from terrorist attacks, most of them seem to result from the poor state of the Iraqi grid, which has suffered years of neglect. The country has been hard pressed to find the money to repair and maintain the grid, along with tackling other pressing issues such as unemployment and lack of access to clean drinking water—other drivers of the protests.
These, however, seem to have begun to calm down after intervention from the security forces and promises by PM Haider al-Abadi to find the funds for electricity and clean water projects.
The most likely source of these funds is, of course, Iraq’s oil industry, which provides almost all of the country’s export revenue. The country has made no secret of its plans to boost production capacity in order to garner enough funds for economic recovery projects. The latest news here is a plan to boost production to more than 7.5 million bpd by 2023 and 2024. That would be up from 4.533 million bpd in June, according to the latest Monthly Oil Market Report of OPEC.
Iraq is OPEC’s second-largest producer after Saudi Arabia, with a production capacity of 5 million bpd. The latest export figure, for June, shows that Iraq shipped 3.52 million bpd of crude from its southern ports. There were no exports from the northern Kirkuk region during that month.