Iraq Power Sector Orientation Visit

Iraq Ministry of Electricity Orientation Visit
December 2, 2005 – December 17, 2005

Decades of operating power plants without regular maintenance and repairs, coupled with fuels shortages, terrorism, and
vandalism have limited the availability of power for homes
and businesses in Iraq.
USTDA funded a 15-day Orientation Visit (OV) to the United States for twelve officials from the Iraq Power Sector. The delegation was comprised of ten representatives from the Iraq Ministry of Electricity (ME) and two from the Iraq Ministry of Oil (MOO).

The ME is responsible for planning, constructing, operating and maintaining the electric power system in Iraq. In addition, the ME works with the MOO on joint fuels coordination issues with regards to liquid fuels, natural gas infrastructure and the more effective use of natural gas in Iraq’s comprehensive energy development strategy. The ME is also working closely with U.S. Embassy Baghdad on an overall operations and maintenance (O&M) strategy. The delegates from ME and MOO were selected according to their participation in the Joint Fuels Committee and their roles in implementing an O&M strategy to develop the skilled managers necessary to maintain the new and upgraded power facilities.

Decades of operating power plants without regular maintenance and repairs, coupled with fuels shortages, terrorism, and vandalism have limited the availability of power for homes and businesses in Iraq. In part, due to heavily subsidized tariffs, electricity demand is growing faster than the supply. The shortage of electric generating capacity in Iraq has been caused by numerous problems including sabotage, looting, a lack of security for workers, disruptions in fuels supplies for the plants, and difficulty in procuring replacement parts at the aging stations, lack of training for workers, obsolete technology, and a lack of adequate financing mechanisms. Restoration of power is critical to the reestablishment of all facets of Iraqi society and is required for sustainable economic growth.

A great deal of donor assistance has already been allocated to the reconstruction of Iraq’s electricity sector, including generation, transmission, distribution, and control systems, and developing a strategy for a transition plan to strengthen Iraqi O&M capacity in the electricity sector. In addition to O&M, there is a need for greater coordination on power issues between the ME and MOO to increase the country’s overall capacity and resources in oil and gas. MOO involvement is necessary because of its responsibility for natural gas resources, including natural gas infrastructure, which are critical to develop, as these are the fuel supplies upon which the new and upgraded power infrastructure operates.

The purpose of the OV was to address two critical objectives: (1) joint fuels coordination between the ME and MOO, and (2) O&M with regard to ME maintaining the new power infrastructure put into place by the U.S. Government (USG) under its reconstruction efforts in Iraq.

The OV took place from December 2-17, 2005 and included visits to Las Vegas, NV and the Tennessee Valley area. The delegates attended the PowerGen International Conference (PowerGen), visited Hoover Dam and then traveled to Chattanooga, TN where they met with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). Throughout their visits to Nevada and Tennessee, the program for the delegates focused on developing a greater understanding of the topics of gas flaring, gas infrastructure, and O&M. The OV concluded with a stop in New York where the delegates met with Keyspan Corporation and Globecom Systems, Inc.

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