Oil companies in southern Iraq are pivoting to backup plans for reducing gas flaring — a sign they are not counting on France’s TotalEnergies to move ahead with a major gas hub project. Iraq needs major new infrastructure to capture the associated gas that is produced along with crude oil, especially as operators develop new production capacity and mothballed fields come back online. At present, about half of Iraq’s associated gas — some 17 billion cubic meters per year — is burned off as waste in an environmentally ruinous practice called flaring, which deprives the government of billions of dollars in potential revenue and reinforces its dependence on Iran for energy imports.