Jordan: BP signs gas exploration deal
25 Oct 2009
BP has signed a deal today with Jordan to explore for natural gas reserves in the Risha field near the border with Iraq in an investment that could reach billions of dollars.
Under the agreement, first announced in energy-pedia on October 12, BP plans to invest $237 million to explore the Risha field, which currently produces 21 million cubic feet a day, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Khaldun Qteishat told reporters after the signing. "This first phase is expected to take between three and four years," he said.
"If the firm discovers large reserves, it would spend eight to 10 billion dollars in the second phase to develop Risha to produce between 300 million cubic feet and one billion cubic feet a day." Qteishat added that "such amounts would be enough to meet Jordan's needs."
"We would study the possibility of exporting gas in the future," he said.
The National Petroleum Company, NPC was granted concession rights over 7600 km2 of Risha area by law no. (9) of 1996 which was amended by temporary law no. (15) of May 1. 2002 to allow for participation with others in Risha Concession and to enable NPC and its partners to recover the cost of petroleum operations (Cost Recovery). Energy-poor Jordan discovered Risha in the 1980s, and the field now covers an area of around seven square kilometres (2.7 square miles).
The desert kingdom, which imports 95% of its energy needs, has also announced plans for a nuclear power programme to generate electricity and desalinate water.
The Risha gas field was discovered in September 1986 and commenced production from the Ordovician Dubaydib Formation in May 1989. Production originally was from the Northern Area, from the main Risha area and from the Risha 8 pool.
The Southern Area comprises three gas pools, Risha 23, 26, and 28. Production began from these pools in August 2003 after they were connected to the northern area facilities via a 16-inch/51 km pipeline. By August 1997 daily output had increased from 27 MMcfg/d to 32 MMcfg/d.
Production continued to rise and by August 2003 the field was producing 38 MMcfg/d. Dry gas produced from the plant is delivered by pipeline to the three 30-MW turbines in a nearby power plant that at one time accounted for 13% of the country's electricity.
The field, which started production in 1989, had initial recoverable gas reserves of 215 BCF, and has so far produced around 65 BCF. Current production is around 22 MMCFD. A study in 2000 of the Dubaydib reservoir lying below the main Risha reservoir has revealed an extensive gas-bearing interval, according to Jordanian sources.
Most of the wells drilled after 1986 penetrated only the Risha member (upper section) of the Dubaydib. The NPC has set itself an ambitious target to increase gas production from the field to 300 MMSCFD by 2015.