French oil company Total, Jordan’s Manaseer Oil & Gas and the Jordan Petroleum Refinery Company (JPRC) will start floating tenders as of the end of January to buy diesel from international markets, putting an end to the JPRC monopoly over diesel imports.
Under a memorandum of understanding signed between the three companies and the Energy Ministry, the companies will float a tender to buy 45,000 metric tonnes of diesel each month for the next six months.
"This is a very important agreement that will last for six months as a trial period. Then companies will be allowed to import other types of oil derivatives gradually," Energy Minister Ibrahim Saif said at a press conference on Monday.
The finance and energy ministries will be part of the process by monitoring the floating of tenders and studying the results, according to the minister.
"The prices of fuel derivatives will continue to be set by the government committee that sets prices at the end of each month," he noted.
The tenders will be floated jointly by the three companies, Saif said, adding that Total and Manaseer plan to expand their storage capacity.
Economist Hosam Ayesh said the move is an important measure to end the JPRC's monopoly and develop the energy sector in Jordan.
"This is a major step towards liberalisation of prices in the future, which will increase competition between the three companies," Ayesh told The Jordan Times.
"The three companies will be engaged in improving services and competing — a matter that will reflect positively on citizens," he said.
Distribution of oil derivatives will be equally divided between Total, Manaseer Oil & Gas and JPRC, according to the ministry.
The JPRC currently refines 75 per cent of Jordan’s fuel product needs, according to the latest available figures, with the government sourcing the remainder by importing already refined fuel from abroad.
Jordan imports about 97 per cent of its energy needs annually.
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