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Macalester College

Publication Date

Spring 2013

Program Name

Jordan: Modernization and Social Change


Jordan is one the world's most dependent countries in foreign sources for energy production in the world. 96% percent of its energy comes from imports from neighboring countries, while exploitation of domestic resources is practically insignificant. Of the primary imports, crude oil and products are by far the most important resource, with natural gas in second place. This dependency is very problematic for both the Jordanian regime and the society it governs in two main ways. Firstly, the source-countries of these resources are highly unstable, especially in the current context of the “Arab spring.” Their outflow of energy sources is very susceptible to political turmoil, affecting the amount supplied to Jordan. As a result of the Egyptian revolution in 2011, for example, Jordan’s imports of natural gas fell 62% relative to 2010, which forced the government to increase gas prices and increase spending on imports of crude oil to act as a replacement. A second way in which it is problematic, is that even such high levels of imports are not able to meet the entire energy demand of the population. While supply is growing at an average of 4.4% per year, demand is growing at 7.4%. A society that cannot supply its basic energy needs is likely to incur into domestic crisis, as economic progress and human development find themselves severely halted. To address this dependency, Jordan must understand its condition, and then pursue potential options to decrease it. This paper has identified three main ways in which Jordan may do so. First, Jordan must seek to reduce demand. It can pursue this both through rationing in the short term and a change in consumer behavior in the long term. Secondly, it must increase the guarantee of foreign supply. It can do this by both diversifying its sources and increasing interdependence with existing ones. Third, it must seek greater self-sufficiency, which It can do both by developing its Oil Shale sector and its nuclear program.


Economics | Environmental Policy | Growth and Development | Politics and Social Change