New Yemeni Oil Prospects Seen In 2001
Yemeni Oil Minister Mohammed al-Khadem al-Wajih said on December 17th that the coming year would usher in new energy projects as a result of a potentially oil-rich territory reclaimed from Saudi Arabia, as well as from increased activity on existing fields.
Al-Wajih said that several firms, including TotalFinaElf and Canadian Occidental, had submitted bids for oil exploration in the 44,000-square-km area returned to Yemen after the signing of a border pact with Saudi Arabia in June.
The minister said that: “We are studying many offers we have recently received from oil firms. We expect to get more from companies interested in this area, largely paralyzed by political differences between Yemen and Saudi Arabia.
” He indicated that companies had been hesitant to move into the area due to conflicts between the two countries, but that those fears had been dispelled by the border agreement.
Relations between the two neighbors have been on the mend following the signing of the accord, which ended a dispute dating back to the 1930s.
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh had said that he expects a new era of cooperation with Saudi Arabia, including joint partnerships for oil exploration and production.
Yemeni oil officials are expected to meet with officials from Saudi Aramco and the Saudi oil ministry in early 2001.
The oil ministry has said that 20 oil companies working in 33 existing blocks will drill 35 new exploratory wells in 2001. The country’s oil production is around 456,000 b/d currently, but al-Wajih estimates an increase to 480,000 b/d in 2001.
He said that the additional volumes would come from the existing Masila Block 14, operated by Canadian Occidental, U.S.-based Hunt’s Blocks 5 and 18 in Marib and TotalFinaElf’s Block 10. The country has estimated reserves of 5.7 billion barrels of oil and 13 trillion cubic feet of gas.