Yemen’s Oil Hopes Dwindle, Even As Prices Shape Up [Archives:1999/17/Business & Economy]

April 26 1999

Canadian Occidental Petroleum Yemen exceeded 121,000 barrels per day of oil production last week. Its overall average for the Masila Bloc in Hadhramaut now stands at 215,000 bpd.
That is the good news.
Yemen Hunt Oil Company’s output continues to fall as the Marib reservoir is steadily depleted and no new investments are made for secondary, let alone tertiary extraction. As a result, the average level of production has fallen to less than 130,000 bpd. With the output of the adjacent Jannah bloc, the YHOC production barely touches on 150,000 bpd.
The real disappointment, however, is the French connection. Neither in oil nor in gas have the French been able to come up with anything that comes close to good news. TOTAL’s concession of East Shabwah Bloc sounded promising at one stage. However, that is no more. But it is with the gas (LNG) project that the TOTAL flop is most obvious. To date, there has been no progress to report. To add insult to injury, the Yemeni officials have agreed to extend the company’s hold over such a vital project.
CanadianOxy has not only introduced more modern technologies, it has also added additional fields that allow it to maintain and increase its level of output. Recently, the company has acquired new concessions in which explorations are expected to begin soon.
CanadianOxy also stands out for another reason. It has shown visible social responsibility in financing projects related to the environment, education, water supply, road construction, health services, and various charity efforts. “I want to express my gratitude to the company for agreeing to pay for the airfare of the Canadian medical doctors who are coming to Yemen to provide free medical surgeries to Yemeni patients,” explained Dr. Abdulla Abdul-Wali Nasher, Minister of Health.
Indeed, the team of medical doctors from the Medical College of Western Ontario and other Canadian universities are coming on their 8th visit next October. Along the same lines, Mr. Abdulaziz Abdulghani, Chairman of the Consultative Council, wrote a letter to Vic Zaleschuk, President and CEO of Canadian Occidental Petroleum, thanking him for financing the education of 20 Yemeni students in Canada. The first batch of 10 candidates have been nominated, and six of them are already in Canada. Another batch of ten will be nominated this year.
Meanwhile, oil prices have began to shape up. Western Texas oil now fetches more than US$ 18 per barrel in the market. That is good news for Yemen and other oil exporters.