Jordan expands oil reserves in anticipation of next Gulf War
The Jordanian government has purchased a large crude carrier to boost its oil reserves to two months consumption. The nine million dollar acquisition is part of the Kingdom’s emergency efforts to compensate for a possible supply cut by Iraq in the event of a war, reported Reuters.
Shipping sources revealed that the vessel was purchased several months ago. Docked at the Red Sea port of Aqaba, the Norwegian oil tanker will give Jordan an extra 25 days of consumption in addition to the Kingdom’s other one-month stockpile located at the Zarqa refinery.
Iraq is Jordan's only source of oil and oil derivatives. In the event that Iraqi oil installations are hit by American artillery, the Kingdom’s annual five million tons of crude imports will be in jeopardy. US officials may also order its forces to interrupt Iraqi land traffic, blocking the 2,500 truck fleet that delivers 12,000 tons of crude daily to Jordan.
This past August, the Jordanian government announced plans to increase its oil imports from Iraq in preparation for a potential US attack on its neighbor. Jordan receives half of its oil from Iraq for free, while the remaining portion is sold to the kingdom at a concession price, four to five dollars less than the world market price.
The US government is examining the possibility of allocating a major aid package to Jordan that would include emergency oil shipments. Although not final, US sources revealed that the nation’s request for American assured oil reserves could be met with over one billion dollars in assistance.
The Bush administration is also preparing economic and military aid packages for its allies Turkey and Israel. The proposed value of an aid package for Turkey is approximately $3.4 billion, two thirds of which would come in the form of military aid, including production licenses and technology transfers. — (menareport.com)
© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)