The government-owned National Electric Power Company (NEPCO) on Monday signed an agreement with Noble Energy under which the latter will provide 40 per cent of the Kingdom's electricity-generating needs.Jordan's parliament bitterly opposed the deal - to no avail:
In remarks to The Jordan Times on Monday, NEPCO said that the results of feasibility and technical studies it has conducted all indicated that the "deal would achieve an annual surplus for the company exceeding $300 million".
NEPCO also said that the deal will contribute to cutting its power-generation costs and "consequently avert sharp hikes in prices of electricity during the coming years".
NEPCO put the validating reasons behind the deal as part of its strategy to diversify energy resources in light of disruption in Egyptian gas supply to the country.
The company also said that signing the deal with Noble Energy will enhance regional cooperation and will make Jordan part of the project of the EU and the Union for the Mediterranean to utilise the gas fields discovered in the East Mediterranean.
NEPCO's deal with Noble Energy was a matter of hot debate inside Parliament and at other platforms, with many MPs and activists expressing their rejection of importing natural gas from Israel.
In February this year, the 17th Lower House held a special meeting with the government to discuss the intended gas deal with Noble Energy. The session saw many MPs call on the government to shy from importing the Israeli gas, citing the frequent Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people.
At the time, the government left it unclear whether it had annulled the transaction with Noble Energy to buy natural gas from Israel.
In August this year, activists said they would sue the government over its gas deal with Israel, which they said would hurt the Kingdom’s economy.
“The government prefers to support the terrorist Israeli entity with billions of dollars through the deal instead of investing in renewable energy projects and creating jobs for Jordanians who suffer from high unemployment rates,” said the Jordanian National Campaign Against the Gas Agreement with the Zionist Entity.
In a statement on its Facebook page, the group said it had formed a legal team in cooperation with the Jordan Bar Association to file a lawsuit against the government.
The Facebook page for the Jordanian National Campaign Against the Gas Agreement with the Zionist Entity.is here. It includes cartoons that both play to the fears of Israel shutting off the switch to Jordan to the usual "Zionists are baby-killers" motif that is so prevalent among Arabs.