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Jordan Secures Funding To Build $2.1B Oil Shale Plant

Jordan’s Attarat Power Company (APCO) has secured financing from Chinese banks to proceed with its plan to build a $2.1-billion power plant in Jordan that would be fired by oil shale – a sedimentary rock that can be burned directly for electricity generation.

The financing-closure agreement will now allow APCO to begin construction of the power plant, a company official told Reuters.

APCO – owned by one Estonian, one Malaysian and one Chinese company – is an affiliate of Estonia’s Enefit, the world’s largest oil shale energy developer. Enefit’s project in Jordan has slated construction for the 550-MW plant to start in 2017, with operations beginning in 2020. The engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) tender was completed in December 2013, with China’s Guangdong Power Engineering Corporation picked as the EPC contractor.

At the beginning of 2016, APCO signed initial agreements with Bank of China (BoC) and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) to provide $1.623 billion debt funding for the construction of the plant and the related open cast mine. Back then, APCO said that the sponsors would continue working on a number of conditions precedent before full financial close can be achieved, including securing equity funding for the project.

The project has faced some delays, because of disagreements over the price of electricity that the plant will sell, and the low oil prices that had delayed the closing of the financial agreements.

Related: Saudi Arabia Tries To Reassure Markets After Oil Price Plunge

Unlike most of the other Middle Eastern countries, Jordan is not rich in crude oil and natural gas. Oil shale is its most significant resource, with studies placing Jordan as the world’s 6th richest country in oil shale deposits, according to Enefit’s website.

The use of domestic oil shale is expected to reduce Jordan’s imports of crude oil and oil products to use for power generation.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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