Jordan's Government seeks oil, gas prospectors
International oil and gas exploitation firms will have a chance to explore and invest in Jordan's largely untapped natural resources in the near future, said a Natural Resources Authority (NRA) senior official on Monday.
The step comes in line with the government's recent approval to offer new competitive fiscal terms for production sharing agreements which will provide investors with new competitive privileges.
"The authority's main concern is to encourage global oil companies to invest in exploring oil and gas in Jordan via providing them with new competitive, flexible, substantial, financial and contractual privileges," said Main Hiyairi, NRA director general.
Interested companies ought to send technical teams to see the new privileges offered by NRA, he said.
The new privileges will offer each company an easy strategy to recoup capital investments.
"The profit sharing system will be more flexible than it was in the past, as each company's share will be according to its offer and size of investment.
A local news report on Monday stated that at least two global firms are interested in oil exploration in Jordan, however, the report did not name any of them.
The report said the offer had caught the attention of some industrial countries' embassies in Amman, while several regional offices contacted the NRA to inquire more about the new facilities.
Hiyari said all areas will be open for exploration, except those in Risha and the Dead Sea and Wadi Araba, where the National Oil Company and an American oil company retain exclusivity.
The availability of oil and extent of reserves is a subject of debate.
"Even though Jordan is located outside the oil belt which includes Iraq, the Gulf countries, Iran and parts of Syria and Turkey, there is still a possibility of exploring oil and gas in Jordan, as its potential natural resources had not yet been tapped," the official said.
The government has been the main investor in oil and gas exploration for the past 30 years, but economic reform and privatization have caused it to cede its position in the sector.
"It is the role of the private sector, whether local or international, to take the risk and to invest in exploring oil and gas," he told the Jordan Times.
The government, he said, will assume no risk, since it will share only in production profits and not the cost of exploration.
Hiyari said the authority has not received any offers. – ( Jordan Times )
By Khalid Dalal
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)