Jordan’s state-owned National Petroleum Company and the UK’s BP will start drilling at the Risha natural-gas deposit that is located on the Iraq border by the end of 2012.

The kingdom’s Petra News Agency said that three dimensional seismic surveys are due to be completed this month and exploratory wells will then be drilled. After this a decision will be made to invest $237m in a four-year plan to develop the 7,000-square kilometre site.

BP’s initial reports from the Risha field state that production of more than 330 billion cubic feet a day could be possible from the field. However, this would depend on the recoverable reserves.

Jordan has almost no hydrocarbon assets currently in production, but is looking for investment in both renewable energy, as well as in its considerable oil shale deposits.