AMMAN –– The Attarat Power Company (APCO) announced Wednesday that six internationally renowned engineering and construction companies have submitted proposals to construct Jordan’s first oil shale-fired power plant.

APCO said in a statement e-mailed to The Jordan Times that the company would evaluate the submitted bids to start more detailed negotiations with the preferred contractors.

The six companies and consortiums that submitted bids are: Alstom/Daewoo E&C (France/Korea), Hyundai E&C/LG International (Korea), Samsung Engineering (Korea), Posco/Daewoo International (Korea), China Machinery Engineering Corporation (China), and Guangdong Power (China).

“The bids received today mark another important step in our steady progress towards establishing a source of power generation for Jordan that will be wholly reliant on the Kingdom’s own abundant deposits of oil shale,” said Andres Anijalg, Project Director for APCO.

Due to the importance of this project to Jordan and the fact that it is the first of its kind in the Middle East, the tender the company issued has generated significant global interest, Anijalg said.

“We will now proceed with evaluating the bids received and selecting the right contractor that will enable us to maximise the Kingdom’s benefit from this project,” he added.

“According to our project timeline, the construction of the plant is to commence by next year. In order for us to meet that objective and for Jordan to start benefiting from its oil shale resources as soon as possible, we will now need strong support and commitment from the Jordanian authorities,” he said.

The advances in oil shale technology over the last decade have led to an increasing number of countries around the world turning to oil shale as a means to meet their domestic energy requirements and reduce their reliance on costly imported fuels.

According to geological surveys, Jordan possesses one of the largest oil shale reserves in the world with total deposits estimated at 40 to 70 billion tonnes, the statement said.

Using the most advanced and clean oil shale production technology available, APCO’s proposed power plant in Attarat um Ghudran is in line with the Kingdom’s national energy strategy that aims to increase Jordan’s energy independence and security by leveraging local natural resources such as oil shale, the company said in its statement.

According to APCO, the power plant is scheduled to start generating electricity for local consumption by 2017. It will have a capacity of approximately 500 megawatts and is expected to reduce the Kingdom’s expenditure on the import of oil products for power generation by more than JD350 million a year, in addition to creating thousands of jobs and providing wider economic benefits, according to the statement.

APCO is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Enefit Jordan BV which is owned by Enefit (Eesti Energia AS), YTL Power International Berhad and Near East Investments Limited.