Austrian oil company gives green light in Yemen

Oil production in the southern province of Shabwa could resume next month

An Austrian energy group OMV refinery in Schwechat, Austria. The firm has signed an agreement with Adnoc. Heinz-Peter Bader / Reuters
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Oil production in the south of Yemen could resume as early as April after OMV, an Austrian company inspected oilfields in the south of Yemen.

This would indicate the first time an international organisation would redeploy oil engineers in the country since the conflict escalated in September 2014.

A team from OMV traveled to Shabwa on Sunday to assess oil production opportunities in the near future.

The Yemeni government-owned news agency, SEBA, cited the company's intent after witnessing an improvement in security situation in the province, which was liberated last year as the last Houthi-held stronghold in the south.

As the first visit to the oilfield in the southern region, the Austrian company indicated production could begin as early as next month after inspecting a production facility named ‘S3’.

"The company aims to resume the resumption of production at the beginning of the next month," A Yemeni Engineer in the Austrian company told The National. 

He said the majority of the Yemeni oil engineers have been tasked by the Austrian company to be on standby for the resumption of operations.


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Yemen's minister of oil, Aous Al Awd, said the team’s confidence in production capacity came as a result of efforts by the Arab Coalition-backed government to bolster oil and gas sectors.

“It is a preliminary step forward for the returning of all oil firms to the government-held regions,” he said.

Other International oil production and exploration companies returned or expressed intent to resume their work in Yemen for the first time since the war escalated more than three years ago.

China said the country is ready to resume development projects during a meeting with Yemeni vice president, Lt Gen Ali Mohsen, last week in Riyadh.

The People’s Republic has built up considerable experience in working in developing countries in Africa as it looks to secure its ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ --an economic plan aiming to strengthen its connectivity to the west.

Yemen's oil reserves could contain as much as 4 billion barrels.

Meanwhile, Al Qaeda set up an ambush on Sunday night targeting a Yemeni army patrol unit in Abyan province, east of Aden, Saleh Hassan, a soldier who survived the ambush told The National.

A soldier was killed and three others injured in the attack as part of a retaliation to the security belt force’s battle against Al Qaeda’s main stronghold last week.