Jordan receives first delivery of natural gas from Israel

Jordanian protests Israel gas deal in Jordan in 2016 (APA Images)

Middle East Monitor  /  January 2, 2020

Jordan’s National Electricity Company (NEPCO) announced yesterday that it has started receiving natural gas from Israel’s Leviathan offshore natural gas field in implementation of the agreement signed between the two sides in 2016.

NEPCO said in a statement that the experimental pumping will continue for three months under the technical and contractual terms between the two sides. It gave no further details.

In 2016, NEPCO signed a $10 billion agreement with Texas-based Noble Energy which operates Israel’s Leviathan field in the Mediterranean under which Israel will provide Jordan 45 billion cubic metres of gas over 15 years.

The agreement is widely rejected by the Jordanian people and lawmakers.

On 15 December, 58 Jordanian lawmakers out of 130 signed memoranda to prepare a bill to cancel the agreement.

In March, the Jordanian parliament has unanimously rejected the gas agreement, but the Constitutional Court issued a decision that the agreement does not require parliamentary approval because it was signed between private companies and not governments.

According to NEPCO, importing natural gas from Israel saves about $300 million compared to purchasing it from international markets. However, experts say that Jordan has alternatives to importing gas from Israel including importing from Egypt, Iraq and Algeria.