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Oil shale in Jordan

Oil shale – a Jordanian resource whose time has come

With global energy demand expected to increase by 44% over the next two decades, reaching approximately 197 million barrels of oil per day, the urgent need globally to develop and utilize alternative forms of energy is increasing daily.

Nowhere more so than in Jordan, where approximately 97% of the country's energy supplies consist of costly fuel imports from foreign countries.

According to the National Energy Strategy, covering Jordan's energy requirements from 2007-2020, the Kingdom needs to increase its energy supply security and reduce its dependence on external energy sources by leveraging national resources such as renewable energies and oil shale. The energy strategy aims to increase the contribution of local energy sources to 39% by 2020 while reducing foreign sources from their current level of 96% to 61%.

This portal has been developed by Enefit, the world's largest oil shale developer, to provide visitors with an introduction to oil shale in Jordan, the advanced technology available to extract and process mined oil shale, and how oil shale has the potential to transform Jordan from being dependent on foreign fuel imports to being a net exporter of energy.

Characteristics of Jordanian oil shale

Jordanian oil shale is considered to be of very high quality. The majority of the deposits are considered to be shallow, making them suitable for open-cast mining.

Oil shale is a domestic resource that will provide the Kingdom with a long term supply of cheap, reliable and abundant energy that can cater to a significant percentage of Jordan's domestic energy requirements and provide a long term solution to the country's energy needs.

Oil shale deposits in Jordan

Oil shale is Jordan's most significant natural resource. According to various estimates, oil shale deposits underlie more than 60% of the Kingdom's territory totaling approximately 40 – 70 billion tonnes, which would make Jordan the 6th richest country in the world in terms of oil shale deposits.

Jordan's most significant oil shale deposits are to be found in 26 different locations around the country, with the 8 most important deposits located in the west-central region of the Kingdom.

Enefit's oil shale projects are located in the Attarat Um Ghudran oil shale reserve, which is estimated to contain over 3.5 billion tonnes of oil shale.

In addition to the west-central deposits, another important deposit is the Yarmouk deposit (where oil shale was first used in Jordan) located near the Kingdom's northern border, while a third oil shale region lies in the Ma'an district in southern Jordan. El Lajjun oil shale deposit is the best known oil shale deposit in Jordan which has been explored also by Enefit. Unfortunately exploitation of this deposit is environmentally not acceptable due to the shallow ground water levels.