As it stands, Iraq has been steadily importing around one third of its total energy supplies from Iran, which equates to around 28 million cubic feet (mcf) of gas to feed its power stations. Even with these extra supplies, frequent daily power outages across Iraq occur and have been a prime catalyst for widespread protests in the past, including last year. The situation is also likely to become worse if change does not occur as, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), Iraq’s population is growing at a rate of over one million per year, with electricity demand set to double by 2030, reaching about 17.5 gigawatts average.
China knows all of this and has come to the correct conclusion that it cannot lose by expanding its imprint in Iraq in such a way. “However, China is now very wary of being seen in Iran or Iraq as looking to make them into client states, although that’s what it plans for both, so it’s recalibrated its approach to being more of the stealth variety – that is, small, incremental steps but lots of them – until at one point in the future the governments [of Iran and Iraq] look around and wonder how China is calling all the shots all of a sudden,” said the Iraq source….[more]