Jordan looks for energy 'self reliance' with hunt for long elusive oil reserves
Jordan will begin a hunt for oil in the southeast of the kingdom, the energy ministry has announced, in a bid for energy security.
Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Saleh Al-Kharabsheh announced on Tuesday that oil drilling operations will start in the Sarhan well 170 kilometres south of Azraq.
Explorers will drill a well between 1,400 to 1,750 metres deep to search for petrochemicals.
Al-Kharabsheh said that final locations for drilling would be decided by an investigation team run jointly by the ministry and the National Petroleum Company, along with international consultants.
He predicted the project would open up new natural resources for the kingdom.
Jordan relies on imports for 98 percent of its energy needs, consuming 134,000 barrels of oil per day, mostly from neighbouring Saudi Arabia.
Jordan has few natural resources of its own and mounts up huge bills every month from energy imports. These costs, in addition to subsidies, have added a huge strain on the economy and increased the national debt.
Gas imports from Israel has become a highly controversial issue in the kingdom.
Last November, Al-Kharabsheh predicted there would be a proliferation in the hunt for oil and gas in Jordan and called on energy companies to apply for exploration licenses.
Jordan began exploring for oil in 1966 and has stepped up operations in the past few years with oil and gas prices rising.