As Safer marks first anniversaryFive foreign bidders win tenders to explore oil in Yemen [Archives:2006/1006/Front Page]

December 11 2006

Yasser Al-Mayasi
SANA'A, Dec. 9 ) The Ministry of Oil and Minerals announced Saturday that five foreign companies won international tenders for oil exploration in new blocks in Yemen.

The announcement was made as Safer Exploration and Production Operations Company marked its first anniversary of assuming the task of the former operator.

Minister of Oil and Minerals Khalid Bahah stated that Indian firm GSBC won the largest bid and will explore in Al-Jawf governorate's Block 19, as well as Blocks 28 and 57 in Shabwa.

“Austrian firm OMV won Block 17 in Aden governorate, while Norwegian firm DNO won a tender to explore Block 84 in Hadramout governorate,” Bahah indicated, adding, “Indonesian oil company, MEDCO Energy, also won a bid to explore Blocks 82 and 83 in Hadramout governorate.”

The minister confirmed that the competition results were a great success thanks to technical and financial requirements bidders had to meet. He added that such results are the fruit of hard work pursued by the ministry and the Petroleum Exploration and Production Authority (PEPA) to expand the scope of oil exploration by promoting open competition.

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Bahah added that such efforts are aimed at promoting the maximum number of open oil blocks.

According to the minister, this tender, the third of its kind, had three characteristics, one of which was promoting eight oil blocks, which is the largest number of blocks up until now.

Bahah mentioned that the competition aimed to achieve the best economic requirements in favor of the state, as well as protect investors' rights in a way to cope with international market demands.

“Investment volume is due to exceed $9 million during the first exploration stage, which was the second characteristic of the tender competition. The third characteristic was that the government's share in oil production will grow,” Bahah explained. “Additionally, the competition was distinguished by the fair cost in order to cope with the state's current conditions related to the oil industry.”

The minister affirmed that of the total number of promoted blocks, only six remained to be re-promoted in the future.

Celebrating its first anniversary in petroleum operation, Safer is Yemen's first national firm working in the area of gas and petroleum.

At a ceremony attended by Bahah and other senior government officials, several lectures and speeches praised Safer's role in improving Yemen's oil sector.

According to the speeches, the firm attributes its success to support from President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his wise leadership. Safer faced numerous difficulties and challenges left over from its former operator, but it has become Yemen's second largest crude oil producer.

Headquartered in Sana'a, Safer is a wholly-owned entity of the Yemeni government. It was established in 1997 pursuant to Yemeni laws as the nation's oil and gas company empowered to conduct all petroleum exploration and development operations. On Nov. 15, 2005, it assumed all upstream oil and gas operations in Yemen's largest exploration block, Block 18 in the Marib-Jawf area.

By employing suitable and up-to-date techniques, along with the integrity and dedication of its Yemeni and expatriate staff, Safer successfully overcame many inherited difficulties and achieved impressive results, including two new oil discoveries in Block 18.

Safer was forced to establish four key departments in order to overcome existing administrative and operational deficiencies: development and exploration, engineering and contracting, crude oil export and scheduling and risk management. None of these departments existed under the firm's previous operator.

During its first year of operation, Safer successfully produced an average of approximately 70,000 barrels of crude oil per day, as well as approximately 2.6 cubic feet of natural gas.