Jordan has allocated 1.5 million dinars (around $2.1 million) in the 2018 national budget for a gas pipeline linking the Hashemite Kingdom with Israel. According to Al-Ghad newspaper on Sunday, the cost of the joint Jordanian-Israeli project is expected to rise to 3 million dinars ($4.2 million) in 2019, and to 6 million dinars ($8.5 million) by 2020. The pipeline will pass over the Sheikh Hussein border crossing, 90 km from Amman.
In September 2016, Jordan’s government-owned National Electric Power Company (NEPCO) and Noble Energy signed an agreement to import 40 per cent of the Kingdom’s electricity-generating needs from Israel. Noble Energy owns 39 per cent of the Leviathan natural gas field in Israeli territorial waters.
A statement issued by NEPCO at the time said that the agreement “enhances opportunities for regional cooperation and will make Jordan part of the EU and the Union for the Mediterranean project to utilize the gas fields discovered in the East Mediterranean.” The natural gas provided by Noble Energy, it continued, will allow Jordan to utilize the gas fields discovered in the territorial waters of Palestine, Cyprus and Egypt.
Over the past two years, protests have been organized in the Jordanian capital Amman against plans to import gas from Israel. The Committee against Normalization with Israel called for negotiations with Israel on the import of gas to stop. “[Such talks] serve the Israeli objective to normalize economic relations with the Arab countries,” it claimed.
Those behind the campaign to cancel the gas agreement with Israel have decided to sue the Jordanian government, NEPCO and the Arab Potassium Company over the deal. In response, the government argues that Jordan suffers from the high cost of producing electricity and is looking for cheaper alternatives, including the import of natural gas.
According to recent figures from the Jordanian Ministry of Energy, the Kingdom’s daily need for gas is estimated at 400 million cubic feet, all of which is imported to generate electricity.