Common questions

Use the link below to see the answers to common questions asked about mining, oil exploration, Karak International Oil and Jordan.

What is oil shale?

Oil shale is an organic-rich rock that, when heated to 500 celsius, yields oil.  The rock was formed around 50 million years ago when algae-rich sediments collected in swamps and lakes then solidified.  Over time the organic matter in the sediments has been transformed into kerogen, a waxy material. When oil shale is heated the kerogen vaporises and can be cooled or distilled to produce a range of liquid oil products.

Download the Oil Shale Industry Guide 

Why do we need it?

The world's conventional, readily accessible liquid crude oil reserves are running out and are not being replaced fast enough by alternative energy sources.  Yet demand for hydrocarbons continues to increase and will soon exceed economic oil production. 

How much oil shale is there globally?

There are 2.5 to 3 trillion barrels of proven extractable oil shale resources globally – more than double the world’s recoverable conventional crude oil supply.

How much oil shale is in the Kingdom of Jordan?

Jordan has the 4th largest oil shale resources in the world with an estimated 30 billion barrels of oil contained in its oil shale deposits. At current rates of consumption this is enough to meet the Kingdom’s energy needs for over 900 years.

What contribution will oil shale make to Jordan’s energy needs?

By 2020, the Governmnet of Jordan plans that oil shale will meet 14% of Jordan’s domestic energy requirements.

How much shale oil is in Karak International Oil’s deposits?

KIO’s Concession Agreement (CA) area at Al-Lajjun contains around 300 million barrels of recoverable oil. KIO's initial average production will generate around 4,000 barrels per day and 15 megawatts of electrical power.

In Phase II the production will rise to reach 19,000 bpd and the resource will be fully utilized within the life of the concession agreement;(40 +10 years).

Isn’t mining harmful to the environment?

All human activity – infrastructure, agriculture, industrialisation, tourism and even leisure activities such as skiing and golf – damages the environment and the costs must be weighed against the potential benefits.

Today, any company wishing to initiate an oil shale project must undertake rigorous research to assess its likely impact on flora and fauna as well as the local community, which must be approved by the government. KIO commissioned independent experts to conduct a comprehensive Environment & Social Impact Assessment, approved by Jordan’s Natural Resources Authority, covering issues such as:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Water resources
  • Odour management
  • Socio-economic factors
  • Noise pollution
  • Cultural heritage impacts
  • Ecology and wildlife protection

What steps have been taken to avoid harming the environment?

Karak International Oil places great emphasis on mitigating damage to the environment and an independent Environmental & Social Impact Assessment details measures to minimise the impact of its operations. These include:

  • Monitoring key indicators such as air and water quality on an ongoing basis.
  • Opting for resource-efficient ATP technology, which uses only a small amount of non-potable water for the purpose of dust suppression.
  • Ensuring zero leakage into surrounding water courses.
  • Exploiting the commercial potential of spent oil shale to create by-products and returning unwanted material to the original mine, where it will be landscaped to blend in with its desert setting.
  • Drawing up rehabilitation plans to return sites to their original condition wherever possible and, at the very least, to leave them safe, non-polluting and useable.

What is KIO doing specifically to minimise CO2 emissions?

Karak International Oil (KIO) supports informed action to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations through sustainable long-term emission reductions. It will optimise energy efficiency during process operations and incorporate features in the project design to reduce CO2 emissions where it is technically and economically feasible to do so. KIO will measure emissions and strive for continuous improvements.

How will KIO’s mining projects benefit Jordan and its people?

  • Energy self-sufficiency – Oil imports currently account for up to 10% of Jordan’s Gross Domestic Product. By helping Jordan develop its abundant oil shale reserves, Karak International Oil is helping the Kingdom transform itself from an importer to an exporter of oil and energy.
  • Energy security – At current consumption rates, Jordan’s oil shales could meet the Kingdom’s energy needs for about 400-500 years. 
  • Inward investment – The project requires phased investment of US$ 0.6 billion for the first phase and an estimated further US$ 2 billion for the second phase.
  • Employment opportunities – KIO’s policy of employing local people wherever practical is expected to create almost 300 direct jobs in the first phase of the project and indirect employment opportunities for many more.