By Mohammad Ghazal – Jul 14,2015 – Last updated at Jul 14,2015

AMMAN — No progress is expected this year between Jordan and Noble Energy to import natural gas from Israel, according to Jamal Gammoh, head of the Lower House Energy Committee.

“After signing the letter of intent last year between the National Electric Power Co. and Noble Energy nothing happened at all. There is no progress whatsoever and talks between the two sides are still halted,” Gammoh said in a recent interview with The Jordan Times.

“I do not expect that any progress in this regard will take place this year. The situation is unclear,” Gammoh said.

Jordan, which has recently opened its first liquefied natural gas terminal in Aqaba and is currently importing LNG shipments from across the world, does not need the Israeli gas anymore, said the lawmaker.

“The terminal in Aqaba will help us import as much LNG as we need. Importing LNG has already reduced the costs of power generation. We do not actually need the gas from Israel,” said the lawmaker.

According to the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, Jordan has already received the first shipment of LNG and will receive 19 more cargoes of LNG during the second half of this year. The fuel will be pumped through pipelines to power stations across the country to generate electricity, the ministry said.

State-owned National Electric Power Company signed a letter of intent with Noble Energy, which owns 39 per cent of the Leviathan natural gas field in Israel, to buy gas over a period of 15 years and at a total cost of $15 billion starting late 2017. The deal was supposed to be signed in November last year.

Progress on the deal was halted after Israeli Antitrust Commissioner David Gilo said he was rescinding an agreement he had reached with Noble Energy and Delek Group last March that would have allowed the two companies to retain majority stakes in Israel’s two biggest gas fields, Tamar and Leviathan, even though it would leave them controlling more than 90 per cent of the country’s gas reserves.

The announcement by the commissioner prompted Noble Energy to signal that it was suspending further development of the Leviathan and Tamar gas fields until Israel makes a final decision on resolving the natural gas monopoly and other regulatory matters.

In Jordan, staunch opposition has emerged to signing the deal from many groups and activists.

Jordan, which imports about 97 per cent of its energy needs, was forced to switch to heavy fuel and diesel for power generation after a series of disruptions leading to a complete halt in natural gas supplies from Egypt.