Policy & Regulation

13 Jan 2020

House Plans Oversight Session on Bill Banning Israeli Gas import

13 Jan 2020  by JT   
The Lower House has decided to hold an oversight session next Sunday to discuss a draft law in the making that bans the import of Israeli gas to the Kingdom.

House Speaker Atef Tarawneh tasked the Legal Committee to address the issue as an urgent matter and submit the bill next Sunday.

Tarawneh's remarks came during a House session on Sunday addressing the 2020 draft state budget law and the budgets of independent public entities.

In December, a group of MPs requested that an “urgent” draft law be formulated to ban the import of Israeli gas to the Kingdom. In the request, submitted to the Lower House speaker’s office, a total of 58 deputies demanded that a law be written scrapping the gas deal with Israel.

Tarawneh added during Sunday’s session that the agenda of the scheduled oversight session will cover all energy deals, including the controversial deal between the National Electric Power Company (NEPCO) and Noble Energy to import natural gas from Israel.

The Chamber agreed on holding the oversight session next week, pending a review of all energy deals promised by the government.

The House speaker called for referring the results arrived at under the revision to a joint legal-energy-mineral committee to consider the notices and submit its recommendations.

For his part, Head of the Lower House’s Legal Committee MP Abdul Monem Odat said that the panel has considered the different dimensions of the proposal, affirming the committee’s readiness to submit the draft law to the Chamber for a decision.

In September 2016, NEPCO signed a 15-year agreement with Noble Energy, a Houston-based company that holds the largest share in the Israeli Leviathan Gas Field, to purchase $10 billion worth of natural gas.

In December, NEPCO announced the start of experimental gas pumping from Noble Energy under the agreement.

The experimental pumping will continue for three months, with the aim of testing the readiness of the infrastructure before actual pumping begins.

The government said it would import 250-300 million cubic feet of natural gas per day from Noble Energy, which is expected to save the Kingdom around JD700 million.

Under the deal, Jordan will receive 3 billion cubic metres of gas per year.

A minimum of 10 senators or deputies have the right to propose or amend any law under Article 95 of the Constitution, which reads: “If the House is of the opinion that the proposal be accepted it shall refer it to the Government for drafting it in the form of a draft law and submitting it to the House either during the same session or at the following session.”


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