The Jordanian Cabinet is set to discuss a draft gas exploration agreement with BP to develop the Risha gas field before giving it final approval, according to reports.

The Jordanian news agency Petra said that today’s meeting, which will be headed by Prime Minister Nadir al-Dhahbi, would host head of Jordan’s National Petroleum Company (NPC) to inform the Cabinet of the agreement reached by BP and the NPC in late August after months-long negotiations.

Once approved by Cabinet, the draft contract will be sent to both houses of the country’s national assembly and to the King for final approval and ratification, a Dow Jones report said.

The news agency said that under the agreement, BP would invest $237 million during a first stage of exploration and evaluation which extends over three to four years.

If the supermajor decided to go ahead with full development of the field, that means it could invest between $8 billion to $9 billion, Jordanian energy officials told Petra.

Risha, discovered in 1987, is a small producing field near the border with Iraq and is thought to have similar geology to Iraq’s untapped Akkas gas field, which is some 150 kilometres away.

Risha’s output peaked at 38 million cubic feet per day in 2003, but has since declined to 22 MMcfd.

It is not clear, however, how much the company would boost production from the field, but according to Jordan’s long-term strategy the field would produce up to 300 million cubic feet a day.

(Upstream Online)