By Eric Watkins
Middle East Correspondent
NICOSIA, June 9 -- Jordan's Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Mohammad Batayneh has confirmed that his country will continue to receive shipments of crude oil from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Kuwait for a further 3-month period.
"Jordan has reached an agreement with the three Arab (Persian) Gulf countries to continue oil supplies," Batayneh said, adding that the three countries will continue providing Jordan with 120,000 b/d of oil under unspecified but "comfortable" financial arrangements.
Although the renewal agreement will not go into effect until June 20, a senior energy official said Iraq will continue to be Jordan's "strategic option" when it comes to oil supply. "We are waiting for a legitimate government to be formed in Iraq to discuss the oil protocol it has with Jordan," the official said.
Prior to the outbreak of the US-led war on Iraq, Jordan had relied on Baghdad for its average consumption of 90,000 b/d of crude and fuel oil, half of which was being imported at preferential prices and the remainder as a gift from former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states, however, said they would provide Jordan with crude and fuel oil, replacing supplies from Iraq that stopped on Mar. 21, the first day of the US-led war against Baghdad (OGJ Online, Mar. 28, 2003).
"The kingdom will be among Arab countries that will compensate Jordan with its oil needs," Saudi Arabia's Prince Saud Al Faisal said, adding, "It will not be at preferential prices."
Batayneh announced in April that a Saudi tanker loaded with 100,000 tonnes of oil docked at Aqaba in the Gulf of Eilat will bringing Jordan its first supplies of gulf oil in more than a decade (OGJ Online Apr. 14, 2003).