Jordan's official news agency, Petra, reports that drilling will start at the Risha natural-gas deposit straddling the country’s border with Iraq by the end of the year.
Citing Energy Minister Khalid Touqan, the agency says work will start at the first of two wells to be initially drilled at a depth of between 3 kilometers (1.86 miles) and 4 kilometers.
Three-dimensional surveys will be completed this month, with the results expected to last for a year, and at that point a decision will be taken on whether to drill further wells as part of a four-year process to explore and evaluate the site.
BP will give an estimate of gas reserves and make a report to the Jordanian Energy Ministry.
Jordan, which imports almost all of its energy requirements, hopes to attract investments of $14 billion for renewable energy, oil shale and nuclear power. The kingdom has agreed with Iraq to jointly develop the Risha gas field, Iraqi spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh announced in March.
London-based BP agreed in October 2009 to join Jordan’s state-owned National Petroleum Co. to explore and develop Risha, which occupies an area of about 7,000 square kilometers. BP is to spend $237 million to increase output at the field within three to four years, according to the agreement.
Initial BP studies reportedly show that production at Risha could exceed 330 million cubic feet a day, depending on the gas reserves discovered in the field.