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    Jordan's Oil Shale Efforts Continue to make up for Egypt's Natural Gas Disruptions



Having suffered from severe disruptions in the flow of Egyptian gas, Jordan is searching for oil shale as part of its strategy to develop indigenous resources.

by: Karen Ayat

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Natural Gas & LNG News, News By Country, , Egypt, Jordan, Oil Shales, Top Stories, East Med Focus

Jordan's Oil Shale Efforts Continue to make up for Egypt's Natural Gas Disruptions

Jordan is searching for oil shale as part of its strategy to develop its indigenous resources. Having been reliant on imports to meet as much as 97% of its energy needs, the Hashemite Kingdom is determined to implement an efficient energy strategy that will ensure the end of its energy vulnerability and reduce its energy bill.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc. is conducting drilling in the Harraneh Eastern region of Jordan, in the hope to encounter oil shale. The end of the year will be key in determining the commercial potential of the deeper layers of Jordanian oil shale. Shell has already invested USD 200 million in oil shale explorations in Jordan and is expected to invest up to USD 800 million in further shale exploratory activities.

Oil shale explorations in Jordan started with the signing in 2009 of an agreement between the Jordanian government and the Jordan Oil Shale Company (JOSCO). JOSCO is a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell pls, registered in the Kingdom to search for and evaluate the commercial potential of Jordanian oil shale.

The Hashemite Kingdom’s master plan to develop indigenous resources and increase energy security gained more importance in the aftermath of the Arab Spring that caused the disruption in the flow of Egyptian natural gas to Jordan. The numerous supply cuts and the reductions in the quantities supplies caused the Kingdom to import expensive fuel products for energy generation that led to a spike in the energy bill.

The government is still suffering tremendously whilst the country is undergoing a severe energy crisis. Oil shale projects are not the only ones launched by the Kingdom. Efforts to develop indigenous natural gas, nuclear energy and renewables are also being invested. Energy efficiency measures are also being implemented.

In the medium term, Jordan is said to be considering imports of Israeli natural gas to satisfy the country’s growing demand. Israel has made important gas discoveries off its shores, with the Leviathan and Tamar fields counting as Noble Energy’s biggest successes in the Levant basin. Israel has taken a decision in principle to export as much as 40% of its natural gas reserves totaling 900 bcm.

The complicated geopolitics of the Eastern Mediterranean complicate the transportation of natural gas discovered in the region to export markets such as Europe and East Asia. Therefore, Israel has formulated its strategy to commence by exports to its immediate neighbours: Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Administration. The momentum permits the latter, at a time when Jordan and Egypt are both suffering from natural gas shortages. Once the main supplier of natural gas to Israel and Jordan, Egypt is suffering from its own energy problems due to a growing population, ongoing export obligations and mismanagement of resources.

Karen Ayat is an analyst focused on energy geopolitics.  Email Karen on ayat_karen@hotmail.com. Follow her on Twitter: @karenayat