The Natural Resources Authority (NRA) signed a memorandum of understanding to search for oil and gas with a Canadian petroleum company, Dauntless Energy Petroleum, on Sunday, a senior authority official said.
“The target area is Al Jafer” in the southern part of the Kingdom, Maan Hiyari, NRA director general, told the Jordan Times.
In addition, other open untapped natural areas in various parts of Jordan which are expected to contain quantities of oil and gas are likely to be next targets of exploration very soon, he added.
All expected agreements, said Hiyari, will be in line with the new privileges system offered by the government in the past few months.
The government recently approved a new production sharing agreement which provides global investors with new competitive, flexible, substantial, financial and contractual privileges.
The new privileges will offer investors an easy strategy to recoup capital investment.
The government, he said, will assume no risk in exploration as it will only share in production profits and not in the cost of exploration.
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. Jordan's potential natural resources have not yet been tapped, some experts believe.
However, Jordan is geographically located outside the oil belt which includes Iraq, the Arab Gulf countries, Iran, and parts of Syria and Turkey, other experts say.
This is the second such accord signed with foreign firms this month. On Oct. 3 UK's Star Petroleum in alliance with Black Rock Petroleum of Australia signed a memorandum with NRA to seek oil and gas in northern parts of Jordan.
An American firm, Trans Global, had earlier concluded a deal to prospect for oil in the Dead Sea area. That project is to be completed by the end of 2001.
Jordan depends totally on Iraq as a main supplier of oil — consuming 70,000-75,000 thousand barrels per day.
The Kingdom is estimated to have 40 billion tones of crude, and a Canadian firm is conducting studies to help extract the oil from oil shale.
( Jordan Times )
By Khalid Dalal
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)