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Trowers & Hamlins advises Government of Jordan on country’s first ever oil shale deposit concession

Trowers & Hamlins advises Government of Jordan on country’s first ever oil shale deposit concession agreement

Concession agreed with Royal Dutch Shell plc affiliate company Jordan Oil Shale Company BV

  • Concession agreed with Royal Dutch Shell plc affiliate company Jordan Oil Shale Company BV

Trowers & Hamlins, the City and International law firm, has advised the Government of Jordan in the negotiation and structuring of its first ever oil shale concession agreement with Jordan Oil Shale Company BV (JOSCo), a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell plc (Shell).

The concession agreement was signed on May 17 2009, in Amman, Jordan.

Trowers & Hamlins advised the Jordanian government on the full range of legal requirements for this concession, from the initial negotiation of principles with Shell to the fully bespoke concession agreement and the finalising of all elements of the deal.

Jordan is believed to have the fourth largest oil shale deposits in the world. The country’s oil shales are believed to hold up to 40 billion tonnes of oil. Geological surveys indicate that existing deposits cover more than 60% of Jordan’s territory.

The concession agreement will allow JOSCo to assess oil shale resources in an area spanning 22,500 km² located in central, southern and north-western regions of Jordan.

Says Martin Amison, Partner at Trowers & Hamlins and head of its international practice: “We are delighted to have worked with the Jordanian government on this very significant project, which is key to Jordan’s Energy Master Plan.”

“We are particularly pleased to have worked on this transaction as it has the potential to make an enormous contribution to the Jordan’s continuing economic development by tapping into an unexploited resource.”

"We have been working with the Jordanian government for many years and our involvement in the JOSCo deal is a natural progression of our previous work in the country."

JOSCo will be using Shell’s "in-situ conversion process (ICP) technology" which allows the exploration of deep oil shale resources. If quality resources are found, JOSCo will have the right to develop oil shale resources within an area of 1,000 km².

Dr Maher Hijazin, Head of the Jordanian Natural Resources Authority said: "The development of these domestic oil shale deposits is an important element of Jordan’s national energy policy. The ultimate objective is to produce clean high quality transportation fuels and other energy products from Jordan’s oil shale resources in a responsible manner. We believe this agreement effectively balances the benefits for commercial exploration of Jordan’s natural resources with the needs of the Jordanian people and sustainable development."

Trowers & Hamlins worked in partnership with CRA International on this project. CRA International is a leading global consulting firm that provides economic, financial, strategy, and business management advice to law firms, corporations, accounting firms and governmental organizations.

Trowers & Hamlins and CRA have worked together on several other successful assignments advising the Government of Jordan. The two firms are currently also advising on a series of smaller oil shale concessions. They also collaborated on the Jordan Gas Transmission Pipeline project and the related long-term purchase of Egyptian gas; the development of Jordan's Energy Master Plan; restructuring of the Natural Resources Authority; and early stage development of Jordan's wind energy projects.

The Trowers & Hamlins team was led by partner Martin Amison who is also Head of International at the firm.