BAGHDAD: Iraq started operating a new natural gas processing plant for oil fields in the southeastern region on Sunday as part of a plan to use gas that was previously flared to generate electricity, the oil ministry said in a statement.

The plant located in Misan province, on the border with Iran, will process gas associated with crude pumped at the Fakka and Bazargan fields, it said.

All Misan fields to be brought on stream in the future will be connected to the plant.

Opec’s second largest oil producer after Saudi Arabia, Iraq flares about 70 per cent of its gas output, according to the Basrah Gas Company which the nation set up in partnership with Shell and Mitsubishi.

Basrah Gas this year also started exporting cargoes of gas condensates and liquefied petroleum gas processed from fields in the Basra region.

Thirteen years after the US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussain, the country still suffers from an acute electricity shortage as it lacks power stations and gas supply.