Interviewed by Ibrahim Ashmawi
[Ashmawi] Yemen has announced that there is a new strategy for the oil, gas and minerals sector. Could you give us some of its features and references which based on?
[Al-Aidarous] The strategy will be divided into three main sectors, including oil, gas and minerals.
[Ashmawi] Regarding oil it is supposed to have long and short terms policies and objectives, to see what is required in the near future? Is the future of Yemen in oil?
[Al-Aidarous] These things will be reflected on a new law and structures and our activities as well. Why a long-term strategy because we believe that the future of oil in Yemen is great, and I am not of the pessimists who say that oil in Yemen will be depleted. The Ministry corporations and the scientific information showed that Yemen consists of 13 sedimentary basins and the exploration and production works currently are carried out in two basins only and are not fully covered by exploration works and the rest are not covered by such works. For example, block No. 18, which produced oil for more than 20 years by Hunt company, 30% of its area was not exploited.
The future of Yemen is not in oil only, but it may be in gas also. Yemen has very large areas starting with the Indian Ocean coast to the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Aden, and the Red Sea. All of these areas are promising areas.There are also very good promising indicators of gas in the Red Sea area and also the in the Arabian Sea. We might have a lack of information and this requires an investment.
Therefore, the strategy will draw policies which will include the provision of information, the marketing methods and the projects development. The national company of Safer will manage these projects.
So we are working to implement the directives of the President that marked 2009 the year of gas, however we are planning to have the first shipment of liquefied gas at the beginning of the 3rd quarter of 2009. Also new agreements regarding gas exploitation have been adopted by Parliament.
The ministry is working with companies, which discovered by chance the gas, to establish supplements to get good use of the discovered gas, and we begun to negotiate with an American company in this respect.
Some say that the available quantities were all used in the project of Gas Exportation, and I tell them that these quantities are part of the quantities and there are many explorations in different sectors waiting for investment.
This year we will work to finish by the end of 2009 the Production Unit of Domestic Gas to back up the amount of gas. It is expected to start production early 2010. We have policies to reduce gas flaring and the beginning of the 1st gas station for electricity generation to supply Hadramout by 25 megawatts.
[Ashmawi] How is the situation of oil explorations currently? Are there encouraging clues?
[Al-Aidarous] There are explorations but they need time, for example, there was another exploration last year in Block 71 by a Chinese company and it is supposed to be announced later on. It is crude oil mixed with gas, which makes it a light oil and expensive. At this time we can’t give more details about it.