French company TotalEnergies on Sunday signed a $ 27 billion contract with Iraq to invest in the country’s gas, oil and solar energy industries. The deal was announced by Iraqi Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul-Jabbar Ismail during a joint press conference with TotalEnergies CEO Patrick Pouyanne in Baghdad.

Ismail said the deal aims to reduce Iraq’s dependence on fossil fuels. “This is the biggest investment for a Western company in Iraq,” he added. “The implementation of these projects is the challenge we now face. “

Although the French group has yet to confirm the value of the investment, company officials said the plan was to invest $ 10 billion in infrastructure. It will be followed by a second round of investments totaling $ 17 billion.

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Sources from the Iraqi Oil Ministry explained that the contract with the French group covers four projects: the installation of a solar farm in Artawi which will produce 1,000 megawatts of electricity, the equivalent of a nuclear reactor; channeling seawater from the Gulf to oil fields in southern Iraq, where the water is used to extract oil from underground deposits; an increase in production from the Artawi oil field near the southern port of Basra from 85,000 barrels per day to 210,000 bpd; and the construction of an exploitation complex for the production of gas fields in the sector. Rather than flaring or burning the excess, the plan is to salvage it for use in generating electricity.

Iraq currently produces 16,000 megawatts of electricity, which is well below its estimated needs of 24,000 megawatts. The demand for electricity increases to 30,000 megawatts during the summer season when temperatures exceed 50 degrees Celsius and air conditioning units are used much more than usual.