Canadian Occidental Petroleum Yemen: Social Responsibility & Business Savvy [Archives:1998/13/Front Page]
“I am happy to announce the end of the first phase in the selection process of applicants for the Canadian Oxy scholarship program for Yemeni students. We now have a list of the top sixty applicants. The Steering Committee will immediately start working to shorten the list of eligible candidates,” said Mr. Vic Zaleschuk, President and CEO of Canadian Occidental Petroleum. The Canadian Oxy official has shown a lot of personal interest and commitment to the program which will cost some US$ 3 million, all of it donated by the company and its partners in the block (Oxy, Pecten and CCC). The program calls for sending, over a four-year period, at least 20 Yemeni students for undergraduate education in Calgary, Canada.
Professor Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf, himself a distinguished academic and a key player in the program, said that the students are going to study at the University of Calgary and the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, two of the best schools in the West. “We hope the first batch of students will be enrolled before the end of this year,” he added. The Canadian Oxy initiative has resulted in a tremendous level of good will and appreciation among Yemenis. “The intellectual community in Yemen is watching closely to see if another oil producing company in Yemen, Hunt Oil Company whose fortunes have been positively affected by its work in Yemen, will follow the Canadian Oxy initiative by similarly contributing to Yemen’s well-being,” Saqqaf said.
At another level, Vic Zaleschuk and a number of senior Canadian Oxy executives who are presently visiting Yemen, have brought more good news to the country. “Using highly advanced, state-of-the-art technology such as 3-dimensional graphic readings of seismic data, we have been able to nearly double our block’s recoverable reserves since 1991,” Zaleschuk told the Yemen Times. The Masila Block (#14) is now producing just under 200,000 bpd, which will be sustained over the near future. In addition, Canadian Oxy has filed with the government a request to engage in joint exploration efforts in Blocks 50 and 51, in conjunction with Kerr McGee of the USA. Over and above that, the company has also expressed interest in other blocks.
The Canadian Oxy team’s visit program includes calls on President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Senate Speaker Abdulaziz Abdulghani, Prime Minister Dr. Faraj Bin Ghanim, Oil and Minerals Minister Mohammed Al-Khadim Al-Wajeeh and other senior officials. Yemeni officials had nothing but praise for the company’s policies. “Canadian Oxy has my full support,” declared President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Indeed, the company’s socially responsible policies and economically aggressive approach have earned it much respect and good will in Yemen.