The oil shale project in Jordan has brought revenue for Estonia already and is advancing at a good pace, says Andres Anijalg, director for the Jordan project at the Estonian state-owned energy group Eesti Energia.
"Right now our ten-strong team is working in the name of having closed by the end of this year all the necessary agreements with the Jordanian government and financers, and then the construction of the Jordanian oil shale power plant can begin," Anijalg said in the Eesti Energia blog.
The project itself is in a phase where the tender offers in the primary tenders for both the construction of the power plant and mining works have been received and negotiations on financing of the project are in full swing, said Anijalg.
"The power plant will not be built in Jordan for Eesti Energia money," the executive said. "International as well as local Jordanian banks, development banks and co-investors alike will contribute to the project."
In addition to Eesti Energia the large Asian company YTL Power International Berhad is involved in the project with a 30 percent stake and the Jordanian company Near East Investment with 5 percent.
"Through selling stakes in the Jordanian project we have earned revenue for Eesti Energia already. By the time construction will start the circle of financial partners will be considerably wider," said Anijalg.
The 500 megawatt oil shale powered plant should provide more than a million Jordanians with electricity and cover 20 percent of the country's consumption needs. At the moment electricity in generated in Jordan mainly by burning diesel or fuel oil and electricity produced in such manner is too expensive for consumers to afford.
"The need to pay a subsidy has placed a big burden on the Jordanian state. The oil shale power plant would allow the Jordanian government to save more than 350 million euros annually, which is why the public's interest and support for the Eesti Energia project is very big there," Anijalg said.
"Eesti Energia has invested seven million euros in the Jordan project by today and the maximum size of the investment that we can make under the endorsed investment plan is 23 million euros," Anijalg said, adding that the earning potential of the projects was much bigger and the ultimate goal was to earn revenue for Eesti Energia and increase the company's value.
Anijalg said that besides Eesti Energia there were 15 more companies, including such major player as Shell, exploring Jordan's oil shale stocks.
Simultaneously with work on the power plant Eesti Energia is exploring the possibility to set up a shale oil refinery in Jordan.