August 11, 2008

Jordan to Tap Oil Shale Within Decade

Jordan to tap oil shale within decade

AMMAN, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) -- Jordan's Natural Resource Authority ( NRA) said the kingdom is expected to start commercial oil shale extraction within next decade, local daily Jordan Times reported on Thursday.

NRA Director Maher Hijazin said the government will soon sign a concession deal with Royal Dutch Shell Oil, under which Shell will survey and develop some 22,000 square meters' lands in southern and central the kingdom, nearly one quarter of its territories.

In Al Attarat and Lajoun areas, meanwhile, Estonian Eesti Energia, Brazilian firm Petrobras, Jordanian-British Jordan Energy and Mining Limited (JEML) and a Saudi firm are currently examining separate blocks, with concession agreements likely inked by the end of the year, added Hijazin.

According to NRA, some 40 billion tons of oil shale exist in 21 sites spreading at the Yarmouk River, Buweida, Beit Ras, Rweished and Karak, Madaba and Maan districts.

A switch to power plants operated by oil shale would offset Jordan's energy bill by at least 40 to 50 percent, according to the National Electric Power Company.

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