Jordan Cabinet to Discuss BP Risha Gas Field Deal Tues

AMMAN (Dow Jones), Sept. 28, 2009

The Jordanian cabinet is expected to discuss on Tuesday a draft gas exploration agreement with BP PLC to develop the Risha gas field before giving it final approval, the Jordanian news agency Petra reported Sunday.

It said that the meeting, which will be headed by Prime Minister Nadir al-Dhahbi, would host head of Jordan's National Petroleum Co. PLC to detail the cabinet on the agreement reached by BP and the NPC late August after months-long negotiations.

Once approved by the 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.

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

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 kilometers away. Risha output peaked at 38 million cubic feet per day in 2003, but has since declined to some 22 million cubic feet a day.

It isn't 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.  

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