Jordan denies imports of natural gas from Israel

Published December 9th, 2015 - 10:00 GMT

Jordan neither imports natural gas from Israel nor plans to do so, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Ibrahim Saif said on Tuesday.

In response to a question by MP Rula Hroub during Tuesday's Lower House oversight session, Saif said the issue of importing natural gas from Israel "was halted and the deal with the American company shelved".

The minister added that the liquefied natural gas imported and stored at the terminal in Aqaba covers 85 per cent of the electricity companies' needs of the substance. 

Earlier this year, Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour announced that talks between Jordan and Noble Energy to buy natural gas from Israeli fields were put on hold “until the US company settles its ongoing legal dispute with Israel”.

State-owned National Electric Power Company signed a letter of intent in late 2013 with Noble Energy, which owns 39 per cent of the Leviathan natural gas field in Israel, to buy gas over a period of 15 years at a total cost of $15 billion starting late 2017. The deal was expected to be signed in November.

Hroub’s question was on the authenticity of rumours about planned construction of a pipeline to pump natural gas into Jordan from Palestinian territories occupied by Israel.

Hroub said she was not satisfied with the minister’s response and will turn her question into an inquiry at the right time.

Also during the session, Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications Mohammad Momani said that Alquds Alarabi newspaper will resume its printing in Amman in a few  days, saying that the government supports press freedoms and has “shining” relationship with media outlets. 

Responding to a question submitted by MP Khalil Atiyeh, Momani added that the decision to suspend Alquds Alarabi’s publication in Jordan was purely of an administrative nature, saying that violations by the newspaper are being fixed so that it can resume printing. 

In previous remarks to The Jordan Times, Jordan Media Commission (JMC) Director General Amjad Qadi said Alquds Alarabi needs only to renew its expired printing permit to resume its publication in Jordan.

In a statement published on its website, Alquds Alarabi said it received the decision to suspend its publication in Jordan with “shock and surprise”, accusing unnamed parties of targeting its freedom.

Alquds Alarabi also claimed that it received no official notification prior to the suspension decision, describing it as “martial, arbitrary and unlawful”.

Qadi added that the JMC has contacted the newspaper to submit a new publication request to be then approved but “they have not done so yet”.

By Raed Omari

 

 


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