All signs show that Jordan is firmly caught in the clutches of a resource curse. Since it takes a whopping 80% of its energy from Egypt, which has not been a reliable supplier following numerous post-revolution explosions of its natural gas lines, and its renewable energy thrust is only expected to shape up in another five years or more, the Kingdom is eager to secure other sources of energy to meet its growing demand.
To do that and create more energy independence for a country that imports 97% of its energy, geologists are pressing the government to step up exploration of what they hope is a substantial oil field just east of Amman.
Oil for the five year gap
The Jordan Times reports that in 1983, Jordan’s Natural Resource Society conducted studies which strongly suggest that the Kingdom’s very first oil field could be lying in Azraq, less than one hour’s drive from the capital city.
The Jordan Geologists Association (JGA) is particularly keen to explore the site, which is believed to hold oil reserves of up to one million barrels. The organization’s President, Bahjat Aladwan, told the paper that they need only to drill one well in order to determine whether the site has the potential to fill the anticipated five year gap between now and when the country’s other energy resources mature.
These resources, incidentally, include nuclear energy programs that many residents in the country have been protesting with increasing fervor since the Fukushima disaster in Japan.
Oil for the people
For over three years, the Indian firm Sonoran energy has been exploring the 11,250-square-kilometre concession area, but is currently at risk of being ousted for failing to drill in accordance with the terms of a product-sharing agreement.
The JGA appears anxious to see the company fail during a three month grace period it has been given to meet its commitments so that the oil reserves, if they do exist and are easily exploited, can become a public venture. This would ensure that any oil discovered would remain government-owned, which would in turn ensure its primary benefit to Jordanians.
Once a center for agriculture and industry, Azraq is now little more than a “truck stop” the Jordan Times wrote in an article last year. This is largely attributed to the area’s diminishing water resources
:: Jordan Times
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