The Jordan Oil Shale Company (“JOSCo”) is a Dutch company registered in Jordan for the purposes of exploring and evaluating the commercial potential of the deeper layers of Jordanian oil shale. In the success case JOSCo will use proprietary In situ Conversion Process (“ICP”) technology to produce shale oil and gas that would not otherwise be producible using currently available oil shale technologies. JOSCo is a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell plc and as such has access to a network of experts world-wide providing invaluable technical know-how, operational expertise, cutting edge research capabilities and global commercial insight.
GTF interview’s JOSCO’s GM Mr Thomas Meijssen
What is the role of technology in shaping the future of your business?
JOSCO strives to be at the forefront of technological advancements within the Oil Shale sector in Jordan. As Shell has Global Research & Development Centers, we have access to a wealth of knowledge and innovation. We believe that our advancements in Jordan could contribute to the transformation of Jordan into an exporter of knowledge to surrounding countries in the future. Our work and research on the In situ Conversion Process (ICP) technology, our field operation models, expert resource evaluation and state of the art Geo-Chemical Lab are testament to our commitment to innovation in Jordan and shaping the future of our business as a whole.
To know more about ICP please read below:
JOSCO will develop oil shale using a novel technology that is called “In-Situ Conversion Process” (ICP). With ICP, a superior technology, shale oil is produced through heating the oil shale in place. Neither excavation nor mining is required. The heating process pyrolyses the organic matter of the oil shale, thereby converting it to oil. These products then are produced using conventional oil field extraction technology.
Could you name some social initiatives that JOSCO supports or is actively involved?
In 2011, JOSCO began a number of Social Investment (SI) Projects with credible partners in Jordan. The purpose of our SI projects is to maximize the value of our presence within Jordan. The main focus areas for JOSCO’s SI campaigns are Human Capacity Development, The Environment and Road Safety.
ESTABLISHED SI PROJECTS
A) Human Capacity Development: Student Research Sponsorship
JOSCO is currently sponsoring 3rd and 4th year Jordanian University Student’s research through the King Abdullah II Fund for Development (KAFD). These research projects may be used to help in the sustainable development of Jordan and are primarily based in the fields of Water, Energy & Environment and other relative research.
In addition to:
- JOSCO sponsored four PhD students to universities in the UK and Germany to study Jordanian oil shale characteristics
JOSCO has delivered a Water Well project to the Ministry of Water, powered by solar power in support to local community members next to the town of Bayir, south of Jordan
C) Road Safety
JOSCO places safety and road safety as our top priority. We have developed a very strong relationship with Jordan’s Traffic Department, to promote Road Safety Awareness via 15 videos for use in training and raising awareness. These videos cover themes that include and not limited to, the importance of wearing seat belts, the danger of mobile phones while driving & driver fatigue.
Envisaged SI for 2013
- JOSCO is reviewing a number of options for community-based water projects with the Hashemite Fund for Development of Badia, that directly benefit the local communities in the Jordanian Badia.
- JOSCO is reviewing a vocational training program with the National Employment Training project (NET) and JOSCO.
Tell us more about JOSCO’s presence and operations in Jordan?
The Jordan Oil Shale Company (JOSCO) a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell plc, is in Jordan to explore for and evaluate the commercial potential of deeper layers of Jordanian oil shale. If successful, JOSCO would use its propriety In Situ Conversion Process (ICP) technology to produce oil which is superior to other technologies. Since its inception in 2009, JOSCO has committed itself to applying the most innovative and the highest standards to its operations and to the industry and communities in which it operates. JOSCO is also a proud partner of many local contractors and suppliers, establishing constructive and collaborative relationships with local communities in its areas of operation through a number of social investment projects. JOSCO began its exploration operations in May 2010 and its operations are progressing very well and on schedule. So far, JOSCO has trained and developed over 205 staff of which 95% are Jordanians. The development of a commercial project is dependent on the success of a number of pre-defined phases aimed at gradually de-risking a commercial project before.
Can you share with us some of the measures you have in place to ensure that the environment stays protected?
For each phase of development , JOSCO carries a detailed/comprehensive – Environment, Social Health Impact Assessment Study (ESHIA). Which considers and deals with all environmental matters in a responsible manner for every scope of work and in each phase of its operations. This study must be approved by the Ministry of Environment before proceeding with a new phase and project. Before proceeding with the study, JOSCO details plans in place to manage all potential risks and impacts. Furthermore, the ESHIA study assesses the impact of the project on local environment, social and health aspects on local communities, then accordingly proposes mitigation measures to minimize the impacts from its operations .
The ESHIA involves all the relevant stakeholders through different pre-arranged scoping sessions, which includes governmental, local community engagements, and municipality coordination’s.
What are the next plans and strategic goals for JOSCO?
JOSCO is currently 2/3 through the assessment phase and has explored and collected valu
able representative data from almost all of the concession area. With the initial data gathered,
JOSCO is now zooming into interest areas for next data gathering operations to then enter the Appraisal Phase by May 2013. All phases must be completed before the final decision is taken to proceed with a commercial project. JOSCO’s strategic goals would depend on the long-term success of the project which would mark not only a significant advance in the development of the oil shale industry in Jordan, but also an expansion of local expertise and economic growth. This project could also represent a major foreign direct investment and the creation of an important new source of revenue for the nation. The agreement signed between the Government of Jordan and JOSCO is aligned with Jordan’s energy master plan that includes developing the country’s indigenous resources, including oil shale in the long term. Our strategic goals are supported through JOSCO vision to work responsibly with partners in the government and society, to fill in the gap of Jordan’s energy mix. JOSCO is present to play an integral role in finding Jordan’s energy solution.
*Thomas Meijssen is General Manager of Jordan Oil Shale Company B.V. (JOSCO) and Country Chair for Shell in Jordan. He is graduated in Physics and Business Administration. He has been with Royal Dutch Shell for 29 years with postings in The Netherlands, Egypt, Syria, Gabon, Oman, and Nigeria. He has been Chief Reservoir Engineer in Oman, Gas Development Manager, Asset Development Manager and Non-Operated Ventures Manager in Nigeria and Value Assurance Consultant Global in The Netherlands. He has extensive experience in oil and gas field development in the Middle East and Africa. Thomas’ wife is from Oman, he has three sons and three daughters and is a keen sportsman.