One of the classic images from the Middle East in the twentieth century (aside from many more less pleasant ones) it that of poking a hole in the sand and have rich black oil come gushing out of the ground. Unfortunately (or not, depending on your perspective), for the people of region, those enormous natural reservoirs of liquid petroleum are not evenly distributed and many of the countries in the area are almost completely devoid of oil reserves. Among those is Jordan, which over the past three quarters of a century has had to rely heavily on the largess of it's wealthier neighbors to the east and south.
In recent decades, significant deposits of oil shale have been found in Jordan, Syria and elsewhere. As with the tar sands in Canada, extracting usable liquid petroleum from shale oil involves considerably more effort and cost. Since the prices of crude oil have remained at historically high prices, and processes have improved, production of oil from shale has become more economically viable. Brazilian oil company Petrobras has been working on oil shale production in Brazil and has now signed an agreement to study the feasibility of applying their technology to a shale deposit in Jordan. The Jordanian deposit has potential reserves of 1.7 billion of of crude oil.

[Source: Petrobras via GreenCarCongress]

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