Friday, August 24, 2007


Jordan to resume importation of Iraqi oil

(AP) -- Jordan's energy minister said Thursday his country expects to resume Iraqi oil imports in the coming days, ending a four-year hiatus sparked by the U.S.-led war that toppled Saddam Hussein, the official Petra news agency reported. Khaled al-Shraydeh said the supply would eventually cover Jordan's daily need of 100,000 barrels and would be trucked across Jordan's desert border from northern oil fields in Kirkuk accompanied by Iraqi security.
"The Iraqi government said it was ready to start supplying us with oil, which we expect will happen within the next few days," al-Shraydeh was quoted by Petra as saying. Iraqi officials said the deal was in the works for a long time and awaited only the hiring of a security force to guard the trucks. Apparently until now they could find no one who would take the job.
Al-Shraydeh did not reveal the price Jordan would pay for the oil, but Jordanian Prime Minister Marouf al-Bakhit said in October that his country would receive preferential rates. Jordan and Iraq signed the deal last August when al-Bakhit made a surprise visit to Baghdad - the first by a top Arab government official.
Al-Shraydeh said Jordan would begin by importing 10,000 barrels per day and would eventually increase the amount to cover the required 100,000. Before the war started in 2003, Iraq covered all of Jordan's oil needs, delivering a portion for free and the rest at about one-third the world market price.
When the supply was halted at the outset of the war, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates stepped in for a year to provide the cash-strapped kingdom with oil at prices believed to have been below market levels. Saudi Arabia now provides Jordan with funding to help the country pay for its oil need.

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