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Local, int’l companies invited to bid for Risheh gas field exploration

By Mohammad Ghazal - Apr 16,2014 - Last updated at Apr 16,2014

AMMAN — The door is open for local and international companies to submit bids to the Energy Ministry to develop the Risheh gas field near the border with Iraq after British Petroleum ended its project there, according to a senior official.

“Any company working in the field of gas exploration can apply to develop the field, especially since BP withdrew from the project and is expected to fully end operations in Jordan in June,” Energy Minister Mohammad Hamed told The Jordan Times at the International Oil Shale Symposium 2014, which concluded Tuesday at the Dead Sea.

BP, which was given an exploration and appraisal period of between three and five years in 2010 after it received a concession that covered an area of around 7,000 square kilometres and included the Risheh gas field, announced earlier this year that it will end its operations as it said “results were not satisfactory” to complete the project.

Jordan, Hamed said, will float a tender this month to invite local and international companies to submit bids to explore for gas, oil and shale gas in three different areas across the Kingdom, mostly in the eastern region.

“We are in the final process of preparing the tender that will be floated this month. After four months, we will announce the winning bidder,” he added.

Hamed said the ministry is awaiting approval by the Cabinet to go ahead and sign a deal with Royal Dutch Shell under which the energy giant will provide 590 million cubic feet of liquefied natural gas (LNG) per day to a floating storage re-gasification unit that the government recently rented, and then gas will flow to the LNG Terminal in Aqaba.

LNG is expected to start flowing to the $65 million terminal by the end of 2014, according to the minister.

On Egyptian gas, Hamed said the natural gas supply from  Egypt is still halted, increasing the burden on the country’s rising energy bill.

“The disruption in Egyptian gas costs Jordan $3 million per day to buy more expensive heavy fuel and diesel for power generation. We hope the Egyptian authorities will fix the pipeline, which was bombed several times over the past three years by saboteurs, very soon,” he said. 

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