CRA International Advises Jordan on Shale Exploration, Devt Agreement

CRA International has advised the government of Jordan in the structuring and negotiation of an oil shale concession agreement that will allow Jordan Oil Shale Company BV (JOSCo), a wholly owned affiliate of Royal Dutch Shell plc, to explore and potentially develop oil shale resources in Jordan. The concession agreement was signed in Amman on May 17, 2009. It will be submitted to the Jordanian Parliament, and, subject to its approval, passed into law.

The concession agreement provides JOSCo the right, under a tax and royalty regime, to use Shell's proprietary oil shale in-situ conversion process technology to assess and develop subsurface oil shale deposits that may be suitable for production. The concession agreement is designed so that Jordan will receive early benefits, including agreed fiscal revenues for each project phase, local employment and procurement opportunities, development of Jordanian oil shale expertise, and infrastructure investments. Jordan's oil shale deposits are approximately the fourth largest in the world.

CRA provided commercial advice to the government to develop an effective deal structure which is sustainable throughout the duration of the concession agreement. The advice focused on promoting successful resource development through effective sharing of project revenue and management and mitigation of project risks.

James C. Burrows, CRA's President and Chief Executive Officer, said, "CRA has been actively engaged in a number of advisory consulting assignments for the exploration and development of natural resources throughout the Middle East. Jordan's concession agreement allows for the use of a new technology in the exploration of one of the world's largest oil shale deposits, and we are pleased to have been able to offer the expertise of our consultants to help broker this agreement."

Dr. Maher Hijazin, the Director General of the Natural Resources Authority, added, "The development of these domestic oil shale deposits is an important element of Jordan's national energy policy. The ultimate objective is to produce clean high quality transportation fuels and other energy products from Jordan's oil shale resources in a responsible manner. We believe this agreement effectively balances the benefits for commercial exploration of Jordan's natural resources with the needs of the Jordanian people and sustainable development."

CRA worked in partnership with Trowers & Hamlins on this project. Trowers & Hamlins, an international law firm with offices throughout the United Kingdom and the Middle East, served as legal advisor to the government of Jordan. Trowers & Hamlins and CRA have worked together on several other successful assignments advising the government of Jordan. The two firms are currently advising on a series of smaller oil shale concessions. They also collaborated on the Jordan Gas Transmission Pipeline project and the related long-term purchase of Egyptian gas; the development of Jordan's Energy Master Plan; restructuring of the Natural Resources Authority; and early stage development of Jordan’s wind energy projects.

CRA consultants in Bahrain and London advised on the concession agreement, led by Vice President Nicholas Braley and Principal Richard Bass.