A senior Iranian energy official said that Ilam Gas Refinery in western Iran will be among the suppliers of natural gas to neighboring Iraq, noting that the facility produces two billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas annually. “In the first phase of Ilam Gas Refinery, gas exports to Iraq would hopefully be supplied from this refinery,” Managing Director of National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) Hamid Reza Araqi said on Monday. He went on to say that the refinery processes seven million cubic meters (mcm) of gas every day, the Islamic republic news agency reported. Earlier this year, former Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qassemi announced that the country will gain more than $5bln from gas exports to neighboring Iraq. \"By exporting the gas extracted from two phases of the South Pars (gas) field to Iraq, which will begin within the next two months, around $5bln will be added to the country\'s foreign exchange earnings,\" Qassemi said, addressing a conference in Tehran. The Iranian oil minister noted the US-led western sanctions against Iran have strengthened the Iranian contractors so that they are now able to implement mega energy projects. Iran and Iraq have signed an agreement for the construction of a pipeline that will carry natural gas from Iran to feed power plants in the southern Iraqi province of Basra. The 56-inch pipeline will start from Assaluyeh, near the massive offshore South Pars Gas Field in Southern Iran, and will continue into Iraq to feed three Iraqi power plants running on gas. The pipeline will be designed in such a way that it will be able to deliver gas to other Muslim countries like Jordan and Lebanon in the future. Iran, which sits on the world\'s second largest natural gas reserves after Russia, is making efforts to raise its gas production by increasing foreign and domestic investments, especially in South Pars gas field.