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Company ‘to start producing oil from oil shale in Jordan in five years’

By Mohammad Ghazal - Feb 15,2014 - Last updated at Feb 15,2014

AMMAN — The Saudi Arabian Corporation for Oil Shale is expected to start producing oil from oil shale in Jordan in five years after the Lower House approved agreements it signed with the government.

"I expect the agreement to be endorsed by the Senate soon, and in March, it is expected to be published in the Official Gazette," Maher Hijazin, the company's president, told The Jordan Times last Thursday.

"When the deal is published in the gazette, it will go into effect and we will start the feasibility study and actual work on the project," said Hijazin.

Under the project, whose costs will range between $2 billion and $3 billion, the company will start producing 3,000 barrels of oil per day in five years, he added.

The company's production will reach about 30,000 barrels of oil per day by 2025, Hijazin said, stressing the importance of the project in meeting the Kingdom's rising energy needs.

Jordan consumes around 100,000 barrels of oil per day, according to official figures.

The company will use the Russian technology of oil shale pyrolysis (UTT-3000), he said, adding that the operations and production will be in the Atarat Umm Ghadran area.

In March 2013, the Cabinet approved a concession agreement between the Saudi company and the Natural Resources Authority (NRA) in this regard.

Jordan, which imports about 96 per cent of its energy needs annually at a cost of over one-fifth of the gross domestic product, has about 40 billion tonnes of oil shale reserves, the fourth largest in the world, according to the NRA.

The country's national energy strategy plans for electricity produced by oil shale to account for 14 per cent of its energy mix by 2020.

The strategy aims to boost domestic energy output from 3 per cent to over half the country’s energy mix with a series of oil shale, natural gas, renewable energy and nuclear power projects.

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