Africa Oil to launch oil exploration in Ethiopia

jack  Martin LopatkaThe fuel exploration agreement will cover 42,000 and 50,000 sq km on the East African nation’s Rift Valley Block of South Omo and Ogaden. (Image source: Martin Lopatka/Flickr)Canadian oil and gas company Africa Oil Corporation (AOC) has signed a petroleum exploration and production agreement with Ethiopia

State mines minister Sinknesh Ejjig and AOC vice-president of business development James R Phillips signed the agreement last week.

The fuel exploration agreement will cover 42,000 and 50,000 sq km on the East African nation’s Rift Valley Block of South Omo and Ogaden regions respectively.

Ejjigu said, “The company would execute its activities as per the law of the country and based on international experiences.”

Phillips said, “The project will not only bring economic benefits to Ethiopia but eventually contribute towards development of the entire region and the continent at large.”

The ministry of mines said AOC, in collaboration with two London-based oil companies, Tullow Oil and New Age Ethiopian, has been “undertaking encouraging activities in petroleum exploration and development” in the region. 

Since 2005, a growing number of foreign oil companies have shown interest in engaging in exploration efforts in Ethiopia despite repeated threats by rebel groups.

The agreement between AOC and Ethiopia also came a few days after a threat issued by rebel group Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), which had killed 65 Ethiopians and nine Chinese oil workers in an attack at a Chinese-run oil venture in 2007. 

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