Oil sector promising, Sufan [Archives:2005/833/Business & Economy]

April 14 2005

Hassan Al-Zaidi
Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Mohammad Ahmad Sufan confirmed that the oil sector in Yemen was promising in the medium and long-run that 99% of the areas were not submitted to investors in the field of oil explorations.

This confirmation comes in response to challenges uttered by the President of the Republic when he warned of an expected exhaustion of oil in 2012.

In a study conducted by Dr. Ahmad Ali Abdulelah, Secretary of Oil Production Authority on Yemen's position on the list of oil producing countries, it was released that Yemen produces over 400 thousand barrels per day and the oil reserve was estimated at 5 million barrels and is expected to increase.

Mr. Abdulelah emphasized that a great portion of the oil reserve was produced during the past decades and that the gas reserves exceed 15 trillion cubic feet.

Meanwhile, a controversy about the extension of the agreement with Yemen Hunt Oil Company (YHOC) that is operating in block 18, is mounting, the study indicates that there is a declination in the production of oil in the main fields in Marib and al-Maseelah. These fields have been exploited for a long time and exceeded the middle of their age, specifically those in Marib.

The Development and Oil Committee at the Parliament forwarded a report on block 18 in al-Jawf to the Parliament in which it revealed many violations committed by the government towards the oil wealth.

The report confirmed that the expiry of the agreement with YHOC operating in block 18 means that this block will be owned by the government along with its reserves, however, the ministry of oil and minerals does not take serious steps in studying the benefits in case a new oil company comes to operate in this block instead of extending agreements with previous companies.

The Council of Ministers was planning to discuss the project of partial amendment of the agreement under the extension with YHOC for five more years but contrarily, the project was withdrawn suddenly in response to a letter from Prime Minister.

The report recommended the Cabinet to reject the extension and amendment the agreement with YHOC particularly as its validity will end in November 2005. The report also recommended the cabinet to take serious steps toward the job-related violations experienced in the ministry of oil and minerals that may lead to big losses due to the lack of sense of responsibility and earnestness in dealing with oil revenues that reach 60% of the overall revenues of the state.