Jordan and Saudi Arabia have signed a number of agreements to finalize Saudi grants with a value of $667mn. These were approved under the $5bn development fund sponsored by four GCC countries, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which provided $1.25bn apiece. The fund was put together in the wake of the Arab Spring and is to be disbursed over a five-year period (MEES, 15 February). The grants, which are the first part of the Saudi aid, consist of $165mn for health, $136mn for education, $62mn for higher education, $132mn for water and sewage, $75mn for transport, $42mn for the industry and trade sector and $55mn for road construction.

Last month Jordan and Kuwait initialed a $65mn grant to be used to help finance the LNG terminal project at the Red Sea port of ‘Aqaba. This is also a portion of the money pledged for Jordan from the $5bn GCC development fund. The project, which is still under study, covers the construction of several port facilities south of ‘Aqaba city, including the LNG terminal. It also covers basic infrastructure work, marine equipment and installations, a floating storage and regasification unit and the servicing of LNG vessels. An official of the Jordanian Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, Salih al-Kharabisha, said that the grant would help the kingdom to deal with the negative effects of the current energy crisis by diversifying gas imports and ensuring availability of supplies. Jordan’s energy strategy envisages 80% of its electrical power generation capacity being fueled by natural gas by 2020. In a related move, Jordan’s Aqaba Development Corporation (ADC) has awarded Turkey’s Beta Engineering, Manufacturing and Erection a $28mn contract for the rehabilitation of the ‘Aqaba Oil Terminal (AOT). (CONTINUED - 285 WORDS)