ERBIL — Iraq and Saudi Arabia on Friday signed an agreement to boost energy cooperation and connect Iraq with the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) power network.
The deal was signed by Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud and Iraqi Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar ahead of the the the Jeddah Security and Development Summit.
The Saudi minister said that apart from enhancing bilateral economic ties, the signing of the deal will help establish Saudi Arabia as a regional hub for electric power grids and attract investment in the country's electricity generation projects.
The deal has also been welcomed by US President Joe Biden, who is in Jeddah to attend the event and meet with regional leaders.
Washington has been encouraging Iraq for years to find an alternative energy source to rely less on Iran, which itself is under heavy sanctions of the West.
“The historic agreements to be signed on the margins of the Jeddah Security and Development Summit on July 16, 2022, to link the electricity networks of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries to the Iraqi grid, in order to provide Iraq and its people with new and diversified electricity sources,” a joint statement by the US and Saudi Arabia said on Friday.
Iraq struggles with a devastated and insufficient electricity infrastructure that leaves a large number of the population without power every day, especially during the extremely hot summers.