Last updated: 7 September, 2011

Iraqi PM calls for speedy power projects

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki met with an executive from US firm Caterpillar on Wednesday, emphasising that Iraq needs quick solutions to its power woes, a statement from the premier’s office said.

Iraq’s current electricity production and imports total about 7,000 megawatts, with demand around twice as much, leaving Iraqis to turn to private generators to supplement the few hours of government grid power they receive per day.

Maliki met with William Rohner, a Caterpillar vice president with responsibility for the Electric Power Division, the statement said.

The premier confirmed during the meeting “the need for quick projects to provide electricity so they can add to the general network before the next summer.”

Maliki called on “the ministers, officials in the electricity ministry and experts in the energy field to hold talks with (Caterpillar) and discuss the presented projects to reach final results as soon as possible.”

According to statement, Rohner said his company is ready to provide for Iraq’s quick-fix electricity needs before next summer.

The meeting was also attended by Deputy Prime Minister Hussein al-Shahristani and US Ambassador James Jeffrey, the statement said.

Iraq’s entire electricity network — from generation plants to hub stations and transmission lines — took a beating during the 1980-88 war with Iran, the 1991 Gulf War, more than a decade of UN sanctions that followed, and finally the US invasion in 2003 and the insurgent attacks that came after.