Jordan is on its way to becoming the first country in the world where parliament will discuss whether or not there are petroleum deposits in its territory. Typically, this is the job of oil companies or of state geological surveys. But, since such an announcement is not forthcoming, well, then maybe our parliamentarians can do it. I can see it. They will collect all the aeromagnetic surveys, the geophysical seismic sections, the geological maps, the well data (cuttings and the well log data), and after pouring over all of this data, they will develop depositional and structural models of the geology of Jordan. After that, they will vote on whether there is any oil in Jordan or not. Obviously, this is the most ridiculous stunt that parliament can pull. But how did we get here? Exploration for oil in Jordan began in the 1940’s, although none of the efforts was really whole hearted, because oil companies were more interested in the giant oil reservoirs of the Arabian Gulf (the nearest oil giant is about 1000 km away). Some interesting information can be found on page 189 here). Things only became interesting when Trans-Global Petroleum came into the picture in 1997. Their area of interest was in the southern basin of the Dead Sea. Trans-Global has had a rough relationship with the Jordanian government, with a culmination of a lecture at the Jordanian Geologists Association conference last year. During the conference, Trans-Global President, Nick Abraham, announced that his company has discovered massive amounts of oil in the concession area. The Natural Resources Authority was not amused, and tried to take the concession away from them. Later, Trans-Global backed away from the claim of finding oil. Subsequent developments include a newly established Hariri company (Porosity) gaining an 80% share of the Trans-Global concession through NRA coercion and Trans-Global suing the Jordanian government for 700 million dinars. A this stage, observers started to wonder what the intentions of the NRA are. And to add another nail to the coffin of credibility of the NRA, a previously closed exploration well in the Serhan Basin in eastern Jordan started leaking oil. At the time, MP ‘Awwad Zawaideh (southern Bedouins) said that people are filling their cars directly from the well. Again, the NRA insisted that the well is not productive, and to solve the public relation problem they decided to seal the well with concrete. There. Problem solved. Rula Hroub at Al Anbat wrote a series of articles about oil exploration in the country. In it, she revealed some very interesting and potentially embarrassing information. To me, the most interesting was how the NRA insisted on having meetings with Trans-Global at their headquarters and how they offhandedly dealt with investors who wanted to join Trans-Global. They only agreed to Hariri joining the concession, although his company has no history in oil exploration. However, why do you need expertise if your name is HARIRI?Now, all of this does not mean anything about whether or not there are commercial oil deposits in the country or not. It just means that the government is acting suspiciously, which leads people not to trust them. Does that sound familiar?