SANAA, (Reuters) - Independent oil producer Yemen expects production on new concessions to boost its crude output to 470,000 barrels per day by the end of 2001, Oil Minister Rasheed Barabaa said in remarks published on Wednesday, May 9.
Yemen currently produces about 456,000 bpd.
The government-owned al-Thawra daily quoted Barabaa, who took office after last month's government reshuffle, as saying initial results from exploration work in the Hadramaut and Shabwa provinces were positive, adding that Yemen would announce details soon.
"Exploration work in general has been positive," he said, adding that 16 international oil companies were searching for crude in 24 concessions while six are already producing.
The minister also said that Yemen, an impoverished Arab country where oil revenues account for 75 percent of the national income, had 34 more concessions to offer to foreign energy companies.
Yemen's crude reserves are estimated at 5.7 billion barrels while natural gas is 13 trillion cubic feet (370 billion cu metres).
Most of the gas is situated on the Marib field.
In 1996, Yemen and a group of international energy firms that include ExxonMobil and TotalFinaElf decided to set up an LNG plant at Marib but failure to secure long-term sale contracts has delayed the project several times.
Barabaa said that Yemen was still negotiating with India's Indigas to buy three million tons of LNG but he did not say when both sides would seal a deal.
The minister also said he expected Yemen's gas exports to increase in 2002 and 2003, mainly due to increased demand in the United States.
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )