Thursday, August 23, 2007

Jordan gets discounted Iraqi oil

Jordan to get discounted Iraqi oil within days

AMMAN (AFP) - Oil-parched Jordan said on Thursday it was due to take delivery within days of much-delayed supplies of Iraqi crude oil at preferential rates under a year-old agreement with Baghdad.

Jordanian tanker trucks have headed to the border to await the crude which is expected to reach the Zarqa refinery in northeast Jordan in the next few days, state-run Petra news agency quoted Energy Minister Khaled al-Shreideh as saying.

Baghdad struck a deal with Amman in August 2006 to provide its neighbour with 10-30 percent of its daily oil needs of around 100,000 barrels.

In June, Iraqi Finance Minister Bayan Jabr Solagh said his country will offer the oil at a preferential rate of 18 dollars below market prices.

Jordan was reliant on Iraq for all its oil needs before the start of the US-led war on its eastern neighbour in March 2003, importing 5.5 million tonnes annually by road, half of it free and the rest at a preferential price.

Under last year's deal, oil supplies from Iraq to Jordan were due to begin in September 2006 but have been delayed for technical and security reasons.

Shreideh said the first delivery of Iraqi crude will be considered as a "trial phase to deal with security conditions", which supplies starting at around 10,000 barrels daily and gradually increasing to reach 30,000 barrels.

Iraqi crude destined for Jordan will travel from the ethnically-volatile northern oil hub of Kirkuk and the Iraqi authorities will provide protection for the tanker trucks up to the border, Shreideh said.

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