News sources reveal that the future energy mix of Jordan is set to undergo a massive transition as six companies have bid to build the kingdom’s first shale oil supplied power plant.
According to Jordan Times, the Attarat Power Company (APCO) has reported that the interested companies include Alstom/Daewoo E&C (France/Korea), Hyundai E&C/LG International (Korea), Samsung Engineering (Korea), Posco/Daewoo International (Korea), China Machinery Engineering Corporation (China), and Guangdong Power (China). After the development of the shale-oil power plant is complete and the plant is operating, Jordan will be able to cut down its dependence on imported fuel.
“On April 30th, 2008, the Government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and Enefit signed a Development Agreement to start the proposed shale oil fired power plant project in Jordan. Under the agreement, Enefit was granted the sole and exclusive right to develop, design, finance, construct and operate a 460 MW shale oil fueled power station in Jordan.” — Enefit, parent company of Attarat Power Company (APCO)
“Enefit is developing two parallel shale oil projects in Jordan. Realization of these projects will help Jordan save hundreds of millions of dollars every year. The power project will substitute more expensive methods of electricity generation and shale oil will replace liquid fuels, which would otherwise be imported. The projects will use the latest and best processing technologies successfully implemented and already operating in Estonia. Some 3,000 construction jobs and 1,000 permanent jobs will be created in Jordan.” — Enefit – ‘Benefits for Jordan’
In the next stage, the bids will be evaluated by APCO before negotiations are held with the preferred contractors. Construction work on the 500 megawatt plant is expected to begin by next year. Upon completion by 2017, the plant will be able to start generating electricity for local consumption and save the kingdom an estimated JD 350 a year.
Currently, Jordan spends around 20 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on fuel imports. Having one of the smallest economies in the Arab world, the country remains heavily dependent on foreign grants and aid to deal with its burgeoning current account and fiscal deficits. Last year, the kingdom’s public debt soared by 23.7 percent to reach about 75 percent of gross domestic product. The Arab Spring dealt a severe blow to the kingdom’s economy, which grew by only 2.7 per cent in 2012. However, the IMF expects the kingdom’s economy to grow by about 3.5 percent this year.
It is estimated that Jordan boasts the world’s fourth-largest reserves of shale-oil. Shale-oil is an organic-rich, fine-grained sedimentary rock from which liquid hydrocarbons can be produced. Shale oil is widely touted as a substitute for conventional crude oil and can be directly used for power production.