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Jordan Govt Endorses Oil Shale Agreement

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by  Hani Hazaimeh, Jordan Times, Amman

Jordan’s government on Tuesday approved the final draft of an agreement with the Royal Dutch Shell Oil Company to produce oil from oil shale at lower underground levels. 

Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications Nabil Sharif told reporters following the weekly Cabinet meeting yesterday that the agreement, to be signed soon, includes three phases: Exploration, evaluation and designing. He added that the final decision to go ahead with developing and investing in this “promising sector will be made following the preliminary stages of the project.” 

In December, the Natural Resources Authority (NRA) forwarded to the Cabinet the commercial deal it initially signed with Shell to tap the Kingdom’s vast amounts of oil shale. 

Under the agreement, the first commercial quantities of oil extracted from oil shale will be produced within 12-20 years from the date the agreement is signed between both sides, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Khaldoun Qteishat said in a previous statement. 

Shell will use its patented In-situ Conversion Process, under which the ground is heated over several years, to extract oil shale in oil form. 

He said the expected initial figure of direct investments in the project ranges between $20-25 billion, adding that Shell will spend around $430 million during the project’s early phases. 

The Cabinet referred the draft agreement to be studied thoroughly by an ad hoc ministerial services committee before it is discussed again by Cabinet and then endorsed through constitutional channels, Qteishat said. 

Copyright (c) 2009, Jordan Times, Amman. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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