Egypt’s natural-gas exports to Jordan are due to start within 10 days after repairs on the network that will take at least a week following sabotage yesterday, Energy Minister Khalid Touqan said.
The Jordan Petroleum Refinery Co. (JOPT), the country’s only refiner, has 122,500 metric tons of heavy fuel that is sufficient to keep the kingdom’s power stations running for 43 days, he said in a statement on the official news agency Petra. It also has a similar quantity of diesel that would meet power needs for another 22 days if gas disruptions continue, he said.
Egypt’s gas supplies to Jordan and Israel were disrupted for the fourth time in five months due to a sabotage attack on the pipeline network in Egypt’s Sinai region. Jordan, one of the smallest economies in the Middle East, is forced to switch its power plants to more expensive heavy fuels. The kingdom imports almost all of its energy needs and relies on foreign investment and grants to support its budget and current-account deficits.
The Jordanian Finance Ministry, through the Central Bank of Jordan, issued two days ago 100 million dinars ($141 million) worth of bills for the Central Electricity Generating Co. and the amount was wired to the Jordan Petroleum Refinery yesterday, Touqan said.
A delegation from the Jordanian Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources is due to travel to Iraq next week to discuss Iraq’s supply by trucks of crude and gasoil, as well as a planned project to install a pipeline for Iraqi oil to flow into Jordan and also future natural-gas shipments, Touqan said.
The Central Bank of Jordan last month agreed to allow the country’s only refiner to borrow beyond its legal limit to help overcome financial difficulties. The repeated gas disruptions also prompted the government to allow on July 5 manufacturers to import heavy fuels including diesel and fuel oil.