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‘Lands for Israel gas pipeline acquired’

By Raed Omari - Mar 08,2018 - Last updated at Mar 08,2018

AMMAN — The government has officially acquired lands in the northern region for the purpose of building a pipeline to bring Israeli gas to Jordan, a senior official said on Thursday.

Requesting anonymity, the government source told The Jordan Times that selected lands for the project have been acquired under the relevant law and regulations. 

In September 2016, the National Electric Power Company (NEPCO) signed a 15-year agreement with Noble Energy, a Houston-based company that holds the largest share in the Israeli Leviathan Gas Field, with the aim of receiving $10 billion-worth of natural gas supplies.

In January, the Department of Lands and Survey (DLS) published an advertisement in Al Rai newspaper, announcing that the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources had acquired some lands along Irbid, Ramtha and Mafraq where the pipeline is expected to be built. However, it was not mentioned in the advertisement that the lands would be used for this particular unpopular project. 

In previous remarks to The Jordan Times, Rafat Quraan, a lawyer of northern region residents, whose lands had been acquired for the controversial project, said that the government had possessed a total of 344 dunums of agricultural land and would rent another 611 dunums for the coming two years.

“The pipeline will occupy 25-metre-wide plot passing through these lands,” Quraan said.”This in practice means that each plot of land on the way of the pipeline will be destroyed,” the lawyer said, adding that most of these lands are planted with olive trees.

Quraan said that the lands acquired were in Northern Shuna, villages of Samma, Makhraba, Ibsar Abu Ali, Al Taybeh, Houfa, Kufr Assad, Ham, Juhfiyeh, Al Huson and Deir Al Seaneh in Irbid, the town of Ramtha and Khanasreh in Mafraq.

The jurist acknowledged that the decision to acquire the lands cannot be revoked as it was taken based on the Acquisition Law.

Boycott movements and activists have called on Jordanians not to sell their lands to the government as part of the plan to build the gas pipeline.

According to NEPCO, the agreement will help save Jordan around $600 million per year.

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