Iraq energy needs total about $50 billion

Sept. 2, 2007 at 10:19 AM
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BAGHDAD, Sept. 2 (UPI) -- Analysts and officials say Iraq's oil and electricity sectors are about $50 billion short of being able to meet demands.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office said estimates collected from Iraqi and U.S. officials indicate Iraq will need to spend an additional $27 billion to finalize its electrical system and $20 billion to $30 billion to complete building its oil infrastructure, The Washington Post reported Sunday.

The GAO said some forecasts predict Iraq will not be able to produce 6 million barrels of oil a day and meet the country's electricity demands until 2015.

During the past four years, the United States has spent $6 billion on Iraq's oil and electricity sectors.

"The U.S. money was intended to get those industries started on recovery," said Stuart Bowen Jr., the U.S. special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction. "We were working with a dilapidated, run-down system. It still has a long, long way to go."

"People said the money was to rebuild the country, but it was just a down payment," said a former top-level Pentagon official who was involved with Iraq's oil and electricity sectors. "The money was never enough to handle all that was there. It was merely a Band-Aid."

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