The children and teachers at Al-Shaheed Wajdi primary school in Basrah are used to long, hot summers with temperatures that reach 50° Celsius.
In recent years regular power cuts exacerbated the stifling summer weather.
In classes, lights went out and fans stopped, leaving students frustrated and struggling to cope.
But over the last two years, the city’s electricity supply has gradually improved.
In the summer of 2017, more reliable power brought welcome relief from the searing heat and enabled students to concentrate at school.
“The electricity supply is better and that’s helped us a lot,” says Sabah Abdul Kareem, the school’s principal.
“Before, the students could not withstand the heat and lost focus. Having a reliable supply of electricity has had a huge impact on their psychological wellbeing.”
Upgrades and repairs
Conditions have improved largely thanks to a joint venture between the Iraqi government, Mitsubishi and Shell.
The Basrah Gas Company (BGC) is upgrading gas infrastructure in southern Iraq that had fallen into disrepair through years of conflict, unrest and a lack of investment.
There is no shortage of gas in southern Iraq. The oilfields of West Qurna 1, Zubair and Rumaila produce an abundance of gas with the crude oil. Most of the gas used to be burned off, or flared.
But BGC is now capturing and processing this gas at the rate of more than 900 million cubic feet a day.
When used in power plants, that is enough to meet around 70% of the electricity needs of Basra and its surrounding areas.
It also saves the government hundreds of millions of dollars a year by reducing the volume of crude oil burned in power plants.