A Dead Sea Oil Discovery in Jordan?

September 9, 2008 by · 2 Comments 

Seems like we can’t get enough Dead Sea oil discovery news lately. Just today The Jordan Times ran an article apparently confirming the existence of a Dead Sea oil discovery on their side of the  salt lake.

According to The Jordan Times:

After years of disappointment, many came to accept that the Kingdom is home to little or no oil reserves.

But with recent claims of the possibility of Jordanian oil, and a parliamentary committee examining the issue, the subject has been elevated to a national discourse steeped in controversy and unanswered questions.

The issue dates back to 1996, when the Natural Resources Authority (NRA) signed a Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) with US company Trans-Global to explore for oil in the Dead Sea area….

Over the next few years, the firm dug four wells at Isaal and Wadi Mujib, some thousands of metres deep, in hope that the rift valley would yield any positive results.

According to the company, logging data and technical studies of the wells revealed huge oil traps of hydrocarbons with significant commercial potential and large oil pays, the solid technical indicators of a major oil discovery.

On August 15, 2005, as per the PSA, the company said it officially informed the NRA of its discovery, but the authority declined to review the studies, according to Trans-Global, which felt there was little interest on the part of the NRA administration to follow through.

“This is the exact opposite of how any petroleum ministry in the world would respond to the discovery of oil,” Trans-Global General Manager Nazeeh Abraham told The Jordan Times.

“We claimed a significant oil discovery, and instead of developing it they denied it. We then faced obstructions every step on the way, preventing us from starting a large accelerated drilling development programme,” he added.

Frustrated with the lack of interest from the authority, Trans-Global announced the discovery during the 9th International Geological Conference of the Jordanian Geologists Association in Amman in April last year.

The announcement created an uproar and came as a shock to the NRA.

“They went public without ever informing us, which is a breach of the PSA. We were only told of a technical discovery, which doesn’t mean much in the oil business,” NRA Director Maher Hijazin told The Jordan Times.

“We have all the documents to prove that there is no discovery,” he stressed.

Industry experts

Although the announcement was shocking to many, it came as no surprise to Jordanian Geologists Association (JGA) President Khaled Shawabkeh.

He claimed that the NRA drilled at least five wells in the area in the 1990s, and found oil in different quantities, although their commercial viability was not verified.

Lack of support and technical difficulties brought on by the area’s topography prevented the authority from any further exploration, and the subject was shelved, he said.

In my view, Trans-Global has made an oil discovery. The quantity and commercial quality of this discovery should now be explored,” the JGA president stressed.

Weatherford, Reeves Logging Ltd., one of 14 third-party companies that performed assessment studies for Trans-Global on the Isaal and Wadi Mujib wells, said it could not confirm or deny the existence of oil in the area, as their only purpose was to log data, not analyse it.

Another industry source, however, told The Jordan Times that the independent third-party studies pointed to “a strong possibility” of commercially viable oil in the Dead Sea area.

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