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Liquefied gas terminal to boost energy sector

By Mohammad Ghazal - Mar 31,2014 - Last updated at Mar 31,2014

AMMAN — The liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Aqaba will give a boost to Jordan's energy sector, a senior official said Monday.

Work on the $65 million terminal is going as planned, and it is expected to be ready during the first quarter of 2015, Energy Minister Mohammad Hamed said at a meeting held by the EDAMA Association under the theme “The Role of Gas in Securing a Sustainable Energy Mix for Jordan".

"The terminal will give independence to the Kingdom in the energy field," he added.

The project will enable Jordan to meet its needs of natural gas for power generation after the halt in natural gas supplies from Egypt since July 2013 following a series of attacks against the Arab Gas Pipeline in Sinai, according to the minister.

"Although importing LNG is more expensive than the natural gas that we used to get from Egypt, LNG remains 30-35 per cent less expensive than diesel and heavy fuel, which we currently use for power generation after the cut in Egyptian gas," Hamed said.

The minister told The Jordan Times that Shell won a tender to supply the terminal with LNG. The Cabinet is expected to approve the agreement with the company in a few days after which the ministry will sign the agreement with Shell.

Describing the terminal as a strategic project, Mounir Bouaziz, Royal Dutch Shell VP for the commercial region of the Middle East and North Africa, said it will reduce the government's energy spending by about $500 million annually.

"The terminal is a strategic infrastructure in the gas field," he said, noting that demand on gas is expected to double globally and it will also surge significantly in the Middle East.

By 2025, the Middle East is expected to be the second largest market for consumption of gas after Asia, Bouaziz added.

Estimates by the International Energy Agency indicate that there is sufficient natural gas to meet the world's needs for the next 200 years, he noted. 

In a speech at Monday's event, EDAMA Association CEO Hala Zawati highlighted several projects that Jordan is implementing in the field of renewable energy and gas.

Noting that the Kingdom will be one of the first countries in the region to generate power from renewable energy, she said the country's grid is expected to be supplied with power generated from renewable energy plants in less than 18 months.

EDAMA — Arabic for sustainability — is a local business association that seeks “innovative solutions for energy and water independence and productivity”, according to its website.

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