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As Baghdad grapples with Sadr City, Iraqi Kurdistan busily builds 'Dream City'

The Kurdistan Regional Government is briskly pursuing oil and gas contracts and economic development, a drive that is chafing Iraq's central government in Baghdad.

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'The other Iraq': The New Hawler development in Arbil is one of many new projects under construction in northern Iraq.

Sam Dagher

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Shakir Wajid showed off his company's plans for "Kurdistan Gas City" – a futuristic residential, commercial, and industrial city that will run entirely on natural gas.

"We believe there are huge gas reserves under the ground in Kurdistan," says Mr. Wajid, an Iraqi Kurd and executive with United Arab Emirates-based Dana Gas, whose company is in the final stages of negotiating over a 14.7 square mile plot of land for the $20 billion project.

Dana Gas has already invested $650 million in Iraqi Kurdistan to extract gas, build a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) plant, and transport the fuel to new power plants in the region. "This area will transform economically in a massive way.… It will be a revolution," says Wajid from his office in the northern Iraqi city of Sulaymaniyah.

Further north in Arbil, the region's capital, authorities are finalizing a deal estimated at $12 billion with a consortium of South Korean companies that will give the energy-starved Asian country access to several oil fields here in exchange for investment in infrastructure projects in northern Iraq.

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