India and Yemen to boost energy ties [Archives:2007/1022/Front Page]

February 5 2007

Raidan Al-Saqqaf
SANA'A, Feb. 4 ) Indian Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Murli Deora and his accompanying delegation concluded their visit to Yemen by signing a protocol to facilitate Indian oil and gas investments in Yemen. The protocol covers investments in downstream activities including oil refining, pipeline construction and petrochemicals, as well as exchanging expertise in oil and gas exploration and production activities.

Deora stated that India looks forward to long-term cooperation with Yemen in the energy sector and proposed signing a long-term oil supply contract for one million tons to secure assured supplies of Yemeni oil.

Indian sources state that Masila light crude oil produced in Yemen is especially suitable for processing in some Indian refineries for local consumption there.

The Indian delegation discussed with Yemeni authorities other areas of cooperation with Yemen, including sending Indian experts to survey potential oil-bearing locations, as well as developing a special software package to suit Yemen's bidding and evaluation procedures regarding oil exploration and allocating oil blocks.

Yemeni Minister of Oil and Minerals Khalid Bahah indicated that the visit is a follow-up to his recent visit to India, where he participated in the Petrotech 2007 conference held in New Delhi three weeks ago. He also added that during his visit, he met with Indian officials, as well as directors of nine Indian oil companies that are well established in the international arena, adding that there are already six Indian oil firms working in Yemen.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh met with Deora on Saturday, assuring him that Indian oil companies and investors are welcome in Yemen and that they'll be allowed to conduct oil exploration on a wider scale in the nation.

India's Reliance Industries Limited already has won bids for two oil exploration blocks and is working on constructing an oil refinery in Ras Issa on the Red Sea jointly with its Yemeni counterpart, Hood Oil.

A consortium made up of Oil India Ltd., Indian Oil Corporation and Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation secured bids for three blocks in the third international bidding round held in late 2006.

Bahah indicated that he's very optimistic about Indian participation in the fourth international bidding round for Yemeni oil blocks, which will be held in the latter half of 2007 and include offshore oil blocks.