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Jordan, Cyprus to work on gas deal details ‘within weeks’

By Mohammad Ghazal - Sep 09,2014 - Last updated at Sep 09,2014

AMMAN — Jordan will sign a letter of intent with Cyprus before the end of this year to buy natural gas from the Mediterranean island, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Mohammad Hamed said on Tuesday. 

Technical teams from Jordan and Cyprus will meet in the next few weeks to set the quantities of gas to be exported to Jordan as well as the prices, the minister told The Jordan Times after the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the two countries in the field of energy. 

An agreement is expected to be signed in 2015 for the purchase of the gas from Cyprus, said the minister. 

"Jordan is keen to diversify its sources of natural gas supply...We held several talks over the past few months with Cyprus and these are very fruitful and encouraging," said Hamed. 

"Importing natural gas from Cyprus is very feasible for Jordan as Cyprus has a very good reserve of natural gas that can contribute to meeting Jordan's needs of gas," he added. 

The minister said that the import of natural gas from Cyprus will significantly help reduce the burden on the Kingdom, which was forced to switch to buying more expensive heavy fuel and diesel for power generation after cuts in natural gas supplies from Egypt. 

Cyprus Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkaotrypis, who met Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour, told The Jordan Times that the signing of the memorandum of understanding on Tuesday sets the framework for upcoming discussions between the two countries on exporting natural gas to the Kingdom. 

"Jordan is a very stable country and we are keen to work with it... Jordan is building a liquefied natural gas terminal and in the next few weeks we will not only discuss exporting gas to Jordan but also work on energy projects," he said. 

The memorandum of understanding between the two countries also includes cooperation in areas of tourism, trade and industry. 

On energy, it seeks to exchange expertise in the field, cooperate in infrastructure projects, conduct joint projects and train experts, as well as exchange skills on installing renewable energy systems, especially solar energy. 

Last week, the National Electric Power Company (NEPCO) said it will sign a deal in November with Noble Energy to buy natural gas from Israel starting late 2017. The total value of the deal, which lasts for 15 years, is $15 billion. 

In February, the Arab Potash Company signed a $771 million deal with Noble Energy to buy Israeli gas for 15 years. 

Jordan, which imports about 96 per cent of its energy needs annually, will also witness the signing of a letter of intent in October between NEPCO and British Gas Group to buy gas from fields it will develop offshore the Gaza Strip. 

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