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Jordan to Start Gas Exploration Drilling in 2011

Source: Bloomberg 6/12/2011, Location: Middle East

Jordan will start drilling at the Risha natural-gas deposit straddling the country’s border with Iraq by the end of the year, the official news agency Petra reported, citing Energy Minister Khalid Touqan.

Work will start at the first of two wells to be initially drilled at a depth of between 3 kilometers (1.86 miles) and 4 kilometers, Touqan said, according to Petra.

Three-dimensional surveys will be completed this month, with the results expected to last for a year, and at that point a decision will be taken to drill further wells as part of a four-year process to explore and evaluate the site, Touqan said. BP Plc will give an estimate of gas reserves and make a report to the Jordanian Energy Ministry seeking to start the development of the field, Touqan said, according to Petra.

Jordan, which fills almost all of its energy needs by importation, hopes to attract investments of $14 billion for renewable energy, oil shale and nuclear power. The kingdom has agreed with Iraq to jointly develop the Risha gas field, Iraqi State Minister Ali al-Dabbagh said March 24.

London-based BP agreed in October 2009 to join Jordan’s state-owned National Petroleum Co. to explore and develop Risha, which occupies an area of about 7,000 square kilometers. BP is to spend $237 million to increase output at the field within three to four years, according to the agreement.

Initial BP studies show that production at Risha can reach 330 million cubic feet a day if not more, depending on the gas reserves discovered in the field, Touqan said, Petra reported.

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