Chinese firm cancels oil agreement with Yemen
The exploitation of Yemen’s oil has been monopolized by the UAE-backed government in Yemen
By News Desk - May 23 2023

(Photo credit: Saleh al-Obeidi/AFP/Getty Images)

Chinese energy firm Anton Oilfield Services Group released a statement on 23 May announcing the “nullification” of an oil exploration agreement signed days earlier with Yemen’s Ansarallah-affiliated government in Sanaa, expressing “sincere” apologies to all parties involved.

“Due to a lack of sufficient understanding of the relevant information previously, Anton Dubai Branch signed a non-legal Memorandum of Understanding regarding Yemeni oilfields development on May 1, 2023,” the statement reads.

“After verifying the relevant information, Anton hereby solemnly announces the nullification of the MOU and sincerely apologizes to the parties involved,” it added without elaborating further.

The signing of the agreement was initially announced on 20 May by Yemen’s Saba news agency, the official outlet of the government in Sanaa. It reportedly came after many negotiations and coordination with several foreign companies to convince them to invest in the oil sector of the war-torn country.

Saba report cites the Yemeni Oil Minister, Ahmad Dares, as saying that the Sanaa government is also in talks with a number of international energy companies.

This comes as the exploitation of Yemen’s oilfields has been monopolized by the UAE and its mercenary groups. Its occupation of the country, along with its islands and ports, as well as its exploitation of Yemen’s resources in general, has been one of the obstacles in the way of recent Omani-mediated negotiations between Saudi Arabia and Ansarallah – aimed at ending the war.

Saudi Arabia and Ansarallah have reportedly reached an agreement on the payment of government employee salaries and the lifting of the blockades on the country’s main port and airport, which are major Yemeni terms for agreeing to a truce.

However, foreign military presence in Yemen, including that of the UAE, US, UK, and France, has posed a threat to peace talks – as Ansarallah has vowed to confront all occupying militaries stationed in the country.

Additionally, international oil companies have continued to exploit Yemeni oil in coordination with the UAE-backed government in Yemen, the Southern Transitional Council (STC). As a result, Ansarallah has launched warning operations against foreign tankers in Yemeni waters.

According to Beirut-based Yemen expert, Karim Shami, the cancellation of Sanaa’s oil exploration agreement with China’s Anton energy firm “is likely due to Gulf pressure on China.”

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