Yemen offers 10 oil blocks to India without tender

Vol 15, PW 14 (26 Jan 12) People & Policy

Troubled Yemen wants more Indian investment in its oil and gas sector to shore up its sagging economy, hit by continuing political turmoil.

PETROWATCH learns Yemen foreign minister Dr. Abu Bakr al-Qirbi is offering oil and gas E&P blocks to Indian companies directly, without a tender.

Al-Qirbi, we hear, made this offer to India’s foreign minister SM Krishna last month (December) when they met at an international conference. Now it’s up to India’s oil ministry to follow up the lead, according to a source in Delhi.

“Yemen has changed its procedure for awarding oil blocks through international bidding,” he explains. “It wants to negotiate directly with companies keen to work in Yemen.

” In January, oil ministry officials asked the following state-owned companies to look into potential Yemen investment opportunities: ONGC Videsh, Bharat Petro Resources, Oil India, IndianOil, Hindustan Petroleum, GAIL and Engineers India. On offer are six onshore blocks and four offshore blocks, spread across the south eastern Jeza-Qamar basin; the northern Rub al Khali basin and the North Hadhramout Arch region.

Areas of the Red Sea offshore northern Yemen are also on offer. One block is located in central Yemen’s Say’un-Masilah basin.

“Foreign minister al-Qirbi also wants Indian investment in the Aden refinery (which has a 130,000 b/d capacity),” we learn. “Security certainly is a concern but there’s no threat to Yemen’s oil and gas sector yet and I’m sure our companies can take advantage,” adds our source.

Since March 2011, Yemen has seen a mass uprising against the government of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, with more than 200 killed by security forces and at least 1000 injured. Today the country tensely awaits a promised general election in February and the departure of Saleh after 33 years in power.