The Kurdistan Region could hold as much as 200 trillion cubic feet (5.67 trillion cubic meters) of natural gas reserves, around 3% of the world's total reserves. This positions Kurdistan for a prominent role in regional and global gas markets.
Since 2003, large gas discoveries have been made. As exploration activities are intensifying, it is certain that more gas will be discovered and will consolidate the vision of the Kurdistan Regional Government.
Our policy is to first satisfy domestic need for power and industrial uses, and then to export. The first step is to make all the people of Iraq benefit from the underground wealth. We are already using gas for power generation and to help provide electricity to some of our neighbouring governorates, such as Ninevah and Kirkuk, and soon Salahaddin. The KRG has developed gas-fired power generation, with a current capacity of 3 GW and an additional 3 GW in the near future. Any excess gas will be directed towards developing local industries and the domestic gas network.
Later, available gas will be exported to Turkey, the largest gas consumer in the region. The first export of gas is expected by 2016, providing a reliable source for Turkey. In addition, the Kurdistan Region is looking to Europe, which also needs a secure, reliable, and diverse gas supply.
Our environmental policy puts tight restrictions on gas flaring. To ensure that all gas is used, and flaring is kept to an absolute minimum, we are encouraging companies to make plans for gas utilization.
With 200 trillion cubic feet (5.67 trillion cubic meters) of recoverable natural gas bordering the Eurasian energy axis, the Kurdistan Region is at an energy crossroads. Once domestic gas demands for electricity and the industrial sector have been met, the remaining gas will find its way to the international market via a comprehensive transportation pipeline network.
Various gas fields are now being developed, and central gas processing facilities are being built. A domestic gas pipeline network is being built to supply gas to various power plants and potential industrial zones in Kurdistan. The domestic gas pipeline network will also connect a number of gas fields to a future main gas export pipeline.
A 176-kilometre pipeline already takes gas from the Khor Mor field to power generation plants in Erbil and Suleimaniah and to Khurmala. A 30-kilometre interconnector pipeline from Summail field to Duhok power plant is under construction, so that the plant, which is currently running on diesel/light fuel, will run on gas by early 2014.
By 2016, large volumes of gas are expected to flow through a Kurdistan Region export pipeline to Turkey, at the Fish Khabur border.