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Jordan upbeat on domestic gas prospects

Jan. 31, 2012 at 6:27 AM

AMMAN, Jordan, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- Development of a natural gas field near Jordan's border with Iraq would start as soon as commercial reserves are confirmed, a Jordanian minister said.

British energy company BP aims to begin drilling exploratory wells in the Risha natural gas field near the Iraqi border within the next several weeks.

"If it is proven that the volume of gas in the field is feasible for commercial purposes, the development of the gas field will begin immediately," Jordanian Oil Minister Fayez Abu Gaoud told Bloomberg News.

Jordanian officials expect the field could produce as much as 330 million cubic feet of natural gas. BP in 2009 agreed to work with the state-owned National Petroleum Co. to explore the field and reached a similar agreement with Baghdad in March.

The Jordanian government is said to be examining the possibility of getting natural gas from gulf states or tap into liquefied natural gas from its neighbors to compensate for supply disruptions from Egypt, one of Jordan's top energy suppliers.

Militants in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula last year targeted natural gas pipelines supplying consumers in Israel and Jordan nearly a dozen times.

Jordan meets more than 80 percent of its energy demand through imports.

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