Deputy minister of oil says transporters will be leery and buyers may be lost Limburg blast to bring new risks to our economy [Archives:2002/43/Interview]

October 21 2002

The discovery of oil and gas in large quantities, along with geological analysis suggest Yemen has great oil exploration potential across the republic.
The recent explosion of the oil-tanker Limburg, however, is expected to have great impact on Yemen’s economy as well as its territorial seawaters.
Yemen Times reporter. Hassan Azzaedi met with Abdulmalik Alama, the Oil Deputy Minister to find out more about oil and its future in Yemen.
Q: What kind of economic risks exist due to the accident?
A: This media circulation of the news about the accident will make international oil and transport companies feel worried, and this will give insurance companies chances to raise prices. Thus we will not be able find buyers for the oil and consequently, oil production will be suspended in the different oil sectors of the eastern region.
Q: You have participated in the Conference of the North held recently. What did you come out with?
A: The North Conference included 1,200 oil Investment companies and manufacturers of oil equipment. We seized the opportunity to promote investment in Yemen in the coastal areas. We have talked with many international authorities like Norway Oil Organization and we exchanged ideas and experiences regarding investment in protecting marine environment of Yemen.
Q: What about seismic surveys in the Yemeni marine?
A: The companies are now doing surveys to get a clear view of the biological structures, to check the locations expected to be gas and oil wells.
According to the seismic survey in sector 15, it was proved that there are unique seismic structures, and oil was discovered by a British company. There is a another oil field called Nazma No.2 which produces about 350,000 barrels daily.
Q: What about the Saudi oil pipe which will go through the Arabian Sea?
A: There are many different Saudi investment companies which want to have their oil pipe go through the sea but it still under studying. Further, the environmental risks which may occur from oil leaking into the sea water at 50,000 barrels, which led to the death of many marine livings.
Q: Do you think that the September 11 attacks hurt oil investment in Yemen?
A: In fact, we suffered a lot from large mounts of insurance costs including the oil establishments, working foreign companies, foreigners insurance costs which was raised dramatically in the year 2001-2002.
Thanks to the efforts by the ministry, there was an attendance to get a productive sectors by international companies and we signed many agreements and memorandums of understanding on the oil investment in Yemen.
The accident to the French ship will be used badly by insurance companies and enemies of Yemen which will try to maximize the problem from a simple accident to a regional and international issue, under the terrorist umbrella, but the results of the investigations will display the whole truth.
The security forces in coordination with the concerned authorities have taken different precautionary measures to protect oil establishments and properties since the September 11 attacks.
Q: What are the measures taken by the ministry to reduce the a catastrophe effects?
A: I want to assure all the oil companies in Yemen and buyers company that there are big efforts to develop the security plans for Yemeni ports to confront the problem of this kind, and oil companies shouldn’t follow the media scare, which made doom out of one incident. Yemen is a developing country, and good investment chances are not available everywhere.