Yemen calls for petrochemical complex [Archives:2007/1100/Front Page]

November 5 2007

SANA'A .Nov, 3 ) Yemen is considering plans for a multi-billion dollar oil refining and petrochemical complex, the oil minister said on Thursday.

Khalid Bahah, Minister of Oil and Minerals, stated at a symposium held in Dubai that Yemen was looking at schemes similar to a string of massive development plans being undertaken by its neighbors. “We are putting a plan together for a refining and petrochemical complex, as part of an industrial city,” Bahah said. “We are looking for a huge investment, and I am confident that we can attract it.”

The oil refinery for the complex would have a capacity of at least 200,000 barrels per day (bpd) and cost at least $2.5 billion, he added. The government would take a lead role in the development, as it was unhappy with the length of time private companies had taken to develop smaller domestic refining projects, he said.

The minister defended Yemen concerning its commitment to agreements as well as its handling effects of the Jabal Al-Tair eruption.

“The open sectors of oil investments are far away from the surrounding volcano and there is nothing to worry about, affirming that there are not any side-effects of the volcano of Jabal Al-Tair island on the oil sectors located in the Red Sea,” Khalid Bahah said, adding, “Yemen has so far signed around 83 agreements in the oil sector and not one has been cancelled. This indicates the credibility of the Yemeni government in terms of respecting its commitments.” He also stated that “the companies which invest first will benefit from existing opportunities,”

Answering inquiries of the international companies participating in the symposium, Bahah reaffirmed that there are no troubles regarding sectors bordering Oman, Saudi Arabia or even the sea areas opposite the African coast. He also pointed out that demarcation between Yemen and the aforementioned countries contributed a lot to improve cooperation and expand mutual business opportunities.

Bahah invited all international companies to benefit from the opportunities available in the oil and mineral fields in Yemen, by entering into a positive partnership with the Yemeni government to enhance the oil sector.

Nasr Al-Humaidi, deputy of the authority of exploration and oil production, said that Yemen's oil reserves amount to 10.4 billion barrels, whereas the natural gas reserve is 18,2 trillion cubic feet..

He further explained that the number of exploratory and developmental wells in Yemen amounted to 1842, of which 142 wells are being drilled this year. Ten foreign companies are working in the oil field, 12 companies are working in the production area and 16 in 25 exploration sectors in addition to 40 companies working in the oil and contracting services, supervised by main companies.

Bahah previously stated that 92 percent of Yemen's exports are oil, which also forms 70 percent of the state's revenues.