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The Associated Press March 9, 2011, 7:35AM ET

Jordan, U.K. company ink oil shale deal

Jordan and Karak International Oil, a subsidiary of U.K. company Jordan Energy & Mining Ltd., have signed a $1.8 billion deal to exploit a portion of the country's extensive surface oil shale reserves.

Maher Hijazin, head of Jordan's Natural Resources Authority, said Wednesday the project involves oil shale extraction in a 35-square-kilometer (13.5-square-mile) area of al-Lajjun in Karak governorate, about 118 kilometers south of the capital Amman.

He said a potential daily oil output of 15,000 barrels was expected in 2015.

Jordan has 40 billion tons of surface shale deposits. The country imports 96 percent of its energy needs.

The kingdom signed a deal with oil giant Shell PLC in 2009 to explore for and assess deep oil shale deposits in another location.

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