Jordan announces 'promising' natural gas find close to the Iraqi border
Jordan's National Petroleum company have discovered "promising amounts" of natural gas near the kingdom's eastern border with Iraq, the kingdom's energy ministry said on Sunday.
The "digging operation" at "Well 53" at the Risha oil field yielded the breakthrough, Energy Minister Hala Zawati announced on Twitter.
"All praise is due to God, today we have hit a new milestone, Well 53 in the Risha oil field is promising," she said.
"Day after say, well after well, we carry on in our efforts at Risha oil field, keeping to the commands of our royal highness, King Abdullah II, to increase self-reliance and the contribution of our local energy resources to the national economy," her tweet read.
Zawati said the scale of the find would be clearer by the end of 2020.
Risha provides nearly 5 percent of Jordan;s natural gas needs, equalling 350 million cubic feet (mcf) per day for power generation.
Jordanian officials have long pinned their hopes on finding major reserves at the field, which is located on Jordan's eastern border with Iraq.
British oil company BP left the desert area in 2014 after investing more than $240 million.
Yet the opportunity for Jordan to wean itself off imports to meet domestic and commercial energy demands meant the hunt for gas was stepped up last year, with quantities reportedly boosted by at least 70 percent, according to the head of majority-owned NPC.
The energy ministry last year unveiled a 10-year plan which Minster Zawati said aimed at increasing electricity generation to match half the country's needs.
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It was part of the effort to diversify local energy sources by widening investments in renewable and shale oil to reduce costly foreign fuel imports.
Jordan imports 93 percent of its energy supplies and pays a sum in the region of $3.5 billion annually, equivalent to 8 percent of its GDP.
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