by Taylor Luck | Nov 26, 2013 | 22:11

AMMAN — A joint Estonian-Malaysian consortium has entered final negotiations for vendor of Jordan’s first oil shale power plant, with a selection set to be unveiled soon to utilise the country’s vast shale oil reserves by the end of the decade.

Andres Anijalg, project director at Attarat Power Company (APCO) — a joint venture of Estonian Enefit and Malaysian YTL International — said officials are finalising negotiations with Chinese and Korean firms for the construction of Jordan’s first oil shale power plant, with the selected vendor to be announced “soon”.

Six international firms have previously expressed interest in the plant, a 460 megawatt thermal fired plant to be constructed in the central region of Attarat, 100 kilometres south of Amman, by late 2017.

In April, APCO received bids from French-Korean consortium Alstom/Daewoo, Korean Hyundai/LG International, Samsung Engineering, Posco/Daewoo International, and Chinese firms China Machinery Engineering Corporation and Guangdong Power.

Once operational, the plant is projected to save Jordan some $500 million in heavy oil and diesel imports — currently the country’s main energy source for electricity generation.

In parallel with the power plant, the Estonian-Malaysian consortium is moving forward with a planned oil shale mining and production project in the central region that is set to supply the plant with oil shale annually and produce up to 40,000 barrels per day, according to Anijalg.

Pending ongoing negotiations with the government, the consortium is slated to begin mining operations mid-2014.

The Estonian-Malaysian project is set to be the first to utilise the Kingdom’s untapped oil shale reserves, which, at an estimated 40 billion tonnes, are listed as the fourth largest in the world.

Under the national energy strategy, the resource is to account for up to 40 per cent of the country’s energy mix by the end of the decade.

Ongoing disruption in Egyptian gas supplies has placed oil shale development at the forefront of the energy policy in Jordan, which imports 97 per cent of its energy needs at cost of over one-fifth the gross domestic product.