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King opens Aqaba gas terminal

By JT - Jul 31,2015 - Last updated at Jul 31,2015

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah on Thursday inaugurated the Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Terminal in Aqaba, 330km south of Amman, used to pump liquefied natural gas (LNG) to electricity-generating stations across the Kingdom.

Accompanied by HRH Crown Prince Hussein, the King also inaugurated a services berth that supports all energy terminals at Aqaba Port, a Royal Court statement said, adding that the facilities will contribute “massively” to developing the economic environment, commerce, and services in the Aqaba Special Economic Zone (ASEZ).

The LNG terminal is the answer to a shortage in natural gas, on which the Kingdom used to rely for years as a cleaner and cheaper fuel to generate electricity before its supplies from Egypt came to a halt.The LNG terminal is likely to render Aqaba Port a regional centre for securing various energy supplies to neighbouring Arab countries, which “puts Jordan on the world’s LNG map”, officials said. 

The marine services berth will serve as a “technical platform” to receive and unload LNG ships at the Aqaba Port, the Royal Court statement explained.

His Majesty toured the Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Terminal and was briefed on the mechanisms of work in the project as well as safety measures followed, which, officials said, are in line with international standards.

At the control room on an LNG ship, the Golar Eskimo, the King unloaded LNG to the Arab Gas Pipeline, which, in turn, supplies electricity generation stations in Jordan. 

The Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Terminal project was implemented by a consortium comprising Bam International in Abu Dhabi and MAG Engineering and Contracting to work on the architecture designs for the marine and land parts, as well as the electromechanical works conducted by Jordanian cadres.

ASEZA has established a number of vital sea ships projects through the Aqaba Development Company as part of a mission to improve Aqaba’s economic and social sectors, and turn the port city into a regional and logistic investment centre, according to the Royal Court.

The network of energy terminals also includes a liquefied petroleum gas port, in addition to the LNG terminal, and the port dedicated to the marine services of ships and boats specialised for dealing with LNG ships.

Under the agreement signed between the National Electric Power Company (NEPCO) and Shell Global that will supply NEPCO with 15 LNG shipments during 2015 alongside four shipments from the spot market. 

With the new supplies, the Kingdom’s dependency on gas has risen to 90 per cent, contributing to a decrease in electricity costs by 25 to 30 per cent.

Inaugurating the LNG terminal is a quantum leap to secure energy supply, basically using gas to generate electricity, Energy Minister Ibrahim Saif, who attended the inauguration, told Petra. 

Some 350 million cubic feet of LNG are pumped every day and used to generate electricity at generation stations, Saif said, adding the terminals will totally depend on gas in their operations by next year. 

The minister said Jordan has a stable source to import LNG as it agreed with Shell Global for 150 million cubic feet of supply every day for the next five years.

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