May 7 (Bloomberg) -- Jordan expects to sign a final agreement within a few weeks with Estonia’s Eesti Energia AS for the construction of a power plant that burns shale oil, the Natural Resources Authority’s director-general said.
The 700-megawatt plant in the central Attarat region is due to be ready for operation in 2016, Mousa Ali Alzyoud said today in an interview at a conference at the Dead Sea.
“We are in the process of finalizing the documents for the agreement, and very soon we will ink the deal,” he said. When asked about the timing, Alzyoud indicated that the two sides would complete the signing in a few weeks.
Jordan says it holds the world’s fourth-largest reserves of shale oil, a sedimentary rock containing solid bituminous materials that are released as petroleum-like liquids when the rock is heated. The government is turning to shale oil along with nuclear, solar and wind power to help meet rising demand for electricity.
The kingdom holds about 40 billion metric tons of shale-oil reserves and plans to increase the share of energy it generates from these deposits to 14 percent of the country’s total requirements, Alzyoud said.
Jordan may attract $20 billion in investment in shale-oil development in coming years, he said. A final agreement with companies from China, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates for a $1.25 billion shale-oil-fired 900-megawatt power plant is expected to be signed by the end of the year, Alzyoud said.
The government has signed three shale-oil agreements so far, including the one with Eesti, another with Royal Dutch Shell Plc and a third with Karak International Oil, a unit of Tunbridge Wells, England-based Jordan Energy & Mining Ltd.
“Jordan is serious about plans to attract investments in the shale-oil sector as about one fifth of the country’s gross domestic product is spent on imported oil,” Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Alaa Batayneh said at the conference.
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