Roundup: Jordan witnesses mounting calls for annulling deal to import gas from Israel

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AMMAN, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- Calls have been mounting in Jordan for abolishing a 10-billion-U.S. dollar agreement to import gas from Israel, with majority of Jordanians voicing support for scrapping the deal.

State-run University of Jordan's Centre for Strategic Studies indicated that the majority of Jordanians support scrapping the gas deal with Israel, citing a report it announced this week showing that 66.5 percent of Jordanians want the deal to be scrapped, while 14 percent oppose scrapping and 19.5 percent say they have "no idea" about the agreement.

The deal is unpopular among Jordanians with scores of protests and sit-in held over the past few months calling for its abolishment.

"We have plenty of options from where we can import natural gas and the deal is rejected by the public ... we simply do not want it," lawmaker Khalil Attyeh told Xinhua in a recent interview.

Adel Abu Musa, a worker at accessories store at Al Hussein camp for Palestinian refugees, also condemned signing the gas agreement.

"This deal is kind of a reward for the Israeli occupation ... Israel is going ahead with its violations, demolishing houses and even occupying and annexing more Arab territories after U.S. President Donald Trump announced his new Mideast peace plan," Abu Musa told Xinhua.

Mohammad Abu Al Abed, another Palestinian refugee who works at the camp, said supporting the Israeli economy would only help them continue with their annexation schemes.

"The Israelis do not want peace. They want more control and more annexation ... we should cut ties with them," he added.

A government official said that the gas to be supplied to Jordan via pipelines through Noble Energy is much cheaper than other options.

The official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity that Jordan tried to look into all available options and importing gas via Noble Energy was the last feasible option.

Several government officials said the deal would save Jordan around 600 million U.S. dollars annually as the price of natural gas is cheaper than that of burning diesel for electricity production and cheaper than importing liquefied natural gas for production of electricity.

In 2016, Jordan inked deal with Isreal to import natural gas from Israel with a daily basis of 300 million cubic feet (about 8.50 million cubic meters) for a period of 15 years from the Leviathan gas field.

Early in 2019, Jordan's National Electric Power Company (NEPCO) started importing gas via the Noble Energy company from Israel.

Early in 2020, NEPCO said the experimental supply of natural gas from Noble Energy Inc. to the kingdom started in line with the deal signed in 2016.

Figures show that 97 percent of Jordan's energy needs relies on imports. Enditem

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