An Estonian-Malaysian consortium has recently signed a $1.6b contract to set up a 470MW oil shale power plant in the Attarat Um Ghudran area of southern Jordan, reported Zawya. The Bank of China and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) are to lend the agreed upon sum, although additional funding will be needed as the full project is expected to cost $2b, according to Global Trade Review. The project should become operational in the second half of 2019. It is expected to help reduce Jordan’s imports of heavy oil and diesel, while generating 3,000 jobs.

Jordan has set a target of providing 14% of its energy mix by 2020 from shales. As 70% of the country is believed to contain oil shales, it will help facilitate Jordan’s ambition to become a net exporter of energy in the near future. Oil shale, not to be confused with shale oil, is an organic rich rock that needs to be heated to 500 degrees Celsius to liquefy the oil trapped within it.

The consortium is made up of Enefit of Estonia and YTL International of Malaysia and the initial agreement was struck when King Abdullah of Jordan visited China in 2015, said the Jordan Times.