AMMAN — Jordan is expected to sign a deal with British Gas Group Plc. this month to import natural gas from the Gaza Strip, according to Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Mohammad Hamed.
Jordan seeks to import 130 to 150 million cubic feet of natural gas per day from the company, which has the rights for developing natural gas fields offshore Gaza, the minister told The Jordan Times in a recent interview.
“Meetings will be held very soon between the two sides to discuss the details of the agreement,” said the minister.
On the cost of gas imports from Gaza, the minister said the technical teams from the two sides will first look into how the gas will be delivered, adding that there are no details at present about prices.
The deal will be signed between the British company and the National Electric Power Company (NEPCO), according to the minister, who stressed Jordan’s strategic need to diversify its sources of the cheaper and cleaner gas as supplies from Egypt are still halted because the pipeline, which had been bombed several times, has not yet been fixed.
“We need natural gas for power generation because it is much cheaper than diesel and heavy fuel that we are currently using in the process,” said the minister.
“Although we will still rely on gas as it is a cheaper source of energy, we will go ahead with plans for oil shale and renewable energy projects,” said the minister.
Jordan also plans to import gas from Cyprus and Israel, in addition to LNG imports that will start to arrive at a special terminal in Aqaba in July.
The deals are meant to reduce NEPCO’s losses blamed on repeated cuts in gas supplies, which constitute almost a fifth of the total public debt of more than JD20 billion.
Jordan consumes about 500 million cubic feet of natural gas per day for production of electricity, according to the minister.
Demand on electricity rises by about 6 per cent annually in Jordan.
British Gas Group and its partner, the Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company, owned by Lebanon’s Sabbagh and Khoury families, were granted oil and gas exploration rights in a 25-year agreement signed in November 1999 with the Palestinian Authority.
Jordan imports about 96 per cent of its annual energy needs at a total cost of 20 per cent of the gross domestic product.
This article was written by Mohammad Ghazal from Jordan Times, Amman and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.