Thursday, March 09, 2006

Oil exploration

The idea of finding oil in Jordan has been a recurring wet dream for Jordanians, who relish the thought of getting a lot of money without having to work for it. Instead of following Dire Straits' formula for "money for nothing and chicks for free" (by playing the guitar on the MTV), we are hoping that oil will provide everybody with the means to buy new Mercedeces and expensive mobile phones.

What will it do to make this come true? Well, we have to find the oil. There are actually two ways to make that happen. The first is to go and find it ourselves. This well take expertise and money. Are we willing to invest what it takes to do this? Of course not. We would rather spend our money on veiled unemployment, overstaffing of our ministries and government owned companies to the point of corruption and failure. So, what is behind door number two? Getting other people to do the work for us. Now that's more our style.

The Natural Resources Authority has a lot of data from previous exploration efforts and our knowledge of Jordan's geology. So, we hire companies to market our data and our fields. Currently, TransGlobal Petroleum is working on finding oil in the Dead Sea area. Lately, the NRA signed a deal by which Sonoran Oil Company would explore the Azraq basin. The parliament almost rejected the deal, on the grounds that there was a "suspicion of corruption", and sent it back to committee for restudy.

The head of the NRA, Maher Hijazin, stated at the opening of a conference that the objection by MP's was due to their lack of knowledge of the deal. Today, he explained to the committee that it was a good deal, and was in fact beneficial to Jordan, and better than previous deals conducted with other companies.

That might be the case, but it is a fact of life that if somebody is going to put up money and energy to look for oil in Jordan, they are going to want a handsome part of the profits in return. Hello! This is capitalism!

So, if we want to keep all of the money for ourselves, we should invest in looking for the oil ourselves. Pay top geologists to work on the problem, and give them the data and resources needed to do the job right. Are the MP's ready to put their money where there mouth is, and demand that the government allocate money for oil exploration in the next budget?



At 8:21 PM, Blogger Lina said...

great post Khalaf, as usual..

"Are the MP's ready to put their money where there mouth is..?"

I know I won't bet on it! As Isam said in his post about JTV today, I will be much more conscious about voting for parliamentary elections next time, because I'm growing sooo frustrated by almost everything those MPs are saying and doing.. with a few exceptional good stunts they managed to pull off, too few to give them any credit!!

At 12:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

honestly i don't think finding oil will be of a great benefit to Jordan, politically speaking.

Looking at oil-rich countries which at one day were considered 3rd world countries, very few of them have the same security and safety and freedoms that Jordan has.

MAybe at another time .....

At 8:46 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Lina: You are flattering me! Thank you :-)

I agree that people should be more politically involved. The biggest problem is that nobody has articulated what sort of economic model we should follow. We want an open market liberal economy that is efficient and yet soaks up as much excess labor as possible. Things don't work that way, and we should decide what we want and set our priorities accordingly.

Hareega: I tend to agree. However, since we seem to want to find oil so badly, at least we should do it in a way that maximizes the benefits. The oil isn't going anywhere, and it's price will always go up. What's the hurry?

At 11:48 PM, Blogger Rami said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 9:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jordan oil bill is the main reason for our deficit. It is the single biggest negative item which make us so in debt, hence weak economy and dependent on others.

There has been lots of studies to explore for oil/r gas and unfortunately, the resuls was only minmal taking into consderation the cost. However, we are blessed in jordan with lots of good quality oil shales which is for of foosil fuel that can be turned into liquid fuel.

Undeersaynd that the cost is still high to extract and trasform into fuel, but i still dont understand why we are still so lagging in this regard!


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