India and Jordan are planning to jointly explore Jordan’s shale reserves – The Financial Express reported today.
Both countries rely on imports to fulfil their energy needs and feel that exploring unconventional energy resources could ease their dependence on foreign supplies.
Unlike its hydrocarbon-rich neighbours, Jordan holds oil reserves at just 1 million barrels and its proved natural gas reserves at slightly more than 200 billion cubic feet (Bcf). What Jordan does have, however, are vast resources of oil shale. Oil shale deposits in Jordan underlie more than 70 per cent of Jordanian territory, amounting to approximately 31 billion tonnes of oil shale.
Oil shale, also known as kerogen shale, is an organic-rich fine-grained sedimentary rock containing kerogen (a solid mixture of organic chemical compounds) from which liquid hydrocarbons called shale oil can be produced. Until recently, exploring these deposits in Jordan was considered too costly for a country which relied on cheaper gas imports from Egypt. But with Egyptian imports frequently disrupted due to military operations and acts of sabotage, Jordan now looks towards its oil shale deposits to offset the diminished imports.
Joining forces with India seems a logical thing to do. India already has a close relationship with Jordan, already importing over 65 per cent of Jordan’s phosphate for its fertiliser sector. As Jordanian government moves towards exploration of its unconventional resoruces, forming joint ventures with Indian companies could prove useful.
Anil Trigunayat, Indian ambassador to Jordan, said that “Jordan could play an important role in our energy security paradigm, given the fact that it claims to have the second largest shale deposits in the world after the US.”
He said that, to his knowledge, several foreign companies have already set up shale-gas-based power plants in Jordan, quoting the example of an Indian company, al Qamerr, which is involved with the Sultani Group.
The terms of the cooperation between the two countries in exploring hydrocarbons will be discussed in detail when a delegation including Jordanian trade and industry minister, will visit New Delhi in November for the 4th Indo-Arab Business Partnership Summit.
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