U.K.’s Karak to Start $1.8 Billion Oil Shale Project in Jordan

Karak International Oil can start a $1.8 billion oil shale project expected to produce 15,000 barrels of oil a day by 2016 in Jordan after securing a royal decree, according to the British embassy in the kingdom.

Karak International, a unit of Tunbridge Wells, England-based Jordan Energy and Mining Ltd., has invested $30 million in the plan, the embassy said in an e-mailed statement today. The company signed an agreement with Jordan in March. The project will help the nation by “reducing its reliance on foreign oil imports and increasing national wealth by an estimated $60 million per year through tax and royalties,” it said.

Karak plans to use Canadian and German technology to extract and process oil shale in an area called Lajjun south of Amman, according to the statement. The company expects to expand output gradually to 60,000 barrels a day, the embassy said in a statement on March 9.

The project will help Jordan “to increase energy from indigenous oil shale resources from zero to 14 percent of the country’s energy requirements by 2020,” Khalid Touqan, Jordan’s minister of energy, was cited as saying in today’s statement.

Jordan has the world’s fourth-largest reserves of oil shale, a sedimentary rock containing solid bituminous materials that are released as petroleum-like liquids when the rock is heated, according to former Energy Minister Khalid Irani. The kingdom, which imports almost all of its energy, holds about 40 billion metric tons of shale oil, according to government figures. The country is turning to nuclear, solar, wind and oil shale to meet increasing power demand and hopes to attract $14 billion in investments in energy infrastructure.

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