Belhaf, Yemen oil production facility in 2009 (File photo/PressTV)
The Ministry of Oil and Minerals of the Sanaa government signed a memorandum of understanding with the Chinese firm, Anton Oilfield Services Group, and a representative of the Chinese government, to allow oil exploration in the Republic of Yemen, Saba News reported on 21 May.
The memorandum of understanding comes after many negotiations and coordination with several foreign companies to convince them to invest in the oil sector of the war torn country.
The Minister of Oil and Minerals, Ahmed Dares, has called on investment companies to visit Yemen to see the potential investment opportunities, advantages and facilities that investment in the sector would provide.
Minister Dares noted that negotiations are ongoing with several international companies to enter the field of oil exploration in Yemen, and work will be done to finalise memorandums of understanding with several of them.
He noted the efforts of the ministry to encourage investments and development in this vital sector for the benefit of the country.
Dares also warned foreign companies against dealing or concluding any contracts with the internationally recognised government backed by the Saudi-led coalition, which maintains a rival Ministry of Oil and Minerals to deal with international oil firms operating in territory under its control.
In recent months, Ansarallah forces have several times attacked oil terminals and energy firms working in the country in an attempt to prevent oil exportation by the Saudi-backed government.
The attacks followed a warning issued in October by the head of Ansarallah’s Supreme Council, Mahdi al-Mashat, that all foreign companies and entities involved in “looting Yemen’s sovereign wealth” immediately cease their activities.
Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, has reserves of some 3 billion barrels of oil and 17 trillion cubic feet of gas, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Yemen’s reserves are largely concentrated in the inland Masila Basin in the center of the country, and the Marib and Shabwa basins further west.
Yemen has been witnessing an ongoing power struggle for nine years between the Saudi-backed government and Ansarallah, which controls most central and northern Yemen provinces, including the capital Sanaa.
But recent peace negotiations with Saudi Arabia have raised hopes for a permanent cessation of the violence and an end to the devastating Saudi blockade on the country.
The war in Yemen has killed an estimated 377,000 people and caused cumulative economic losses of $80 billion, while 80 percent of the Yemeni people urgently need humanitarian assistance, according to the UN.