China, Estonia firms to work on Jordan oil shale power plant

Reuters

TALLINN, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Chinese firm Guangdong PowerEngineering Corporation has won a preliminary deal to design andconstruct the first oil shale power plant in Jordan, theEstonian developer said on Tuesday.

The Middle East kingdom, which imports 97 percent of itsenergy, hopes to exploit its oil shale deposits, among thelargest in the world.

Oil shale, a rock rich in kerosene, can be burned in boilersor processed into oil liquids. Estonia is the world's biggestoil shale power producer.

The 540-megawatt (MW) plant is being developed by AttaratPower Company, 65 owned by Estonian energy group Eesti Energia,through its subsidiary Enefit Jordan B.V.

The project development company has also signed apreliminary deal with Bank of China and Industrial CommercialBank of China on a loan of $1.4 billion.

Estonia Energy said the project developer will enter intobinding deals for the construction and financing afterconcluding talks with Jordanian government on power sales.

It did not provide any time frame for concluding the deal.

Power production from the oil shale could be crucial forJordan, Energy Minister Alaa Batayneh told Reuters earlier thisyear.

Independent power plants, which produce over 60 percent ofthe country's installed power capacity of 3,300 megawatts, arebarely keeping up with a 7 percent annual rise in consumption.

The other partners in the power plant project are MalaysianYTL Power International Berhad with 30 percent stakeand Jordanian Near East Investment with the remaining 5 percent.

Royal Dutch Shell, has invested $100 million toexplore for oil shale in Jordan's eastern and northern regions. (Reporting by David Mardiste, writing by Nerijus Adomaitis,editing by William Hardy)

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