The MoU on a Strategic Energy Partnership provides a political framework for reinforcing energy relations between Iraq and the EU. It outlines priorities for future cooperation and notes that Iraq may become a supplier of natural gas for the southern energy corridor in Europe. Since Iraq has the world's third largest proven petroleum reserves, it adds that Iraq could become an energy bridge between the Middle East, the Mediterranean and the EU.
The MoU was signed by EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs and Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain Al-Shahristani.
“Iraq represents a vital link for EU's security of supply,” says Piebalgs. “It is already an important supplier of oil and can become a key gas supplier for the southern corridor; the EU can help Iraq to develop electricity system and tap its vast renewable resources.”
Areas of cooperation covered by the memorandum include:
- Preparation of a plan of action for the development of renewable energy in Iraq;
- Development of a comprehensive and integrated energy policy for Iraq;
- Assessment of the Iraqi hydrocarbon transit and supply network;
- Identification of the sources and supply routes for gas from Iraq to the EU;
- Ensuring sustainability of energy policy in Iraq; and
- Updating the Iraqi gas development programme.
In recent years, Europe has strengthened its relations with partners in the Middle East and North Africa, and this policy is one element in diversifying EU energy imports. Full energy partnership means cooperation on elements that will make Iraq stronger by introducing energy demand management, energy efficiency and renewable energy.