Govt in Talks with Major Companies Seeking to Produce Natural Gas

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia is holding talks with major global companies seeking to engage in Natural Gas production, the sector’s top official said on Thursday.

The companies initiated the negotiations after Ethiopia got its natural gas reserves in the Somail Region certified, assuring the commerciality of resources.

“Certifying our reserves has given us a big advantage to attract major companies in addition to the negotiations power,” Takele Uma, Minister of the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP) said in his press briefing on the half-year performance of his Office.

Netherland, Sewell & Associates, Inc (NSAI), a U.S.-based petroleum property analysis and consulting firm, certified the natural gas reserves in the Ogaden basin last August.

The firm’s final assessment and economic evaluation report put the total volume of natural gas reserves in Calub, Hilala, and Dohar areas at 7 trillion Cubic Feet (TCF).

Growing interests

Ever since the country got its reserves certified, Minister Takele said well-known global gas companies are initiated discussions with the government aiming to engage in production.

The list includes Russia’s Gazprom, UAE’s Adnoc, U.S.’s Baker Inc, and China’s Sinopec Group.

Up to six companies have so far taken the Assessment and Evaluation documents from the Ministry to carry out their own economic feasibility.

“The negotiations are ongoing,” Takele said, with a view to identifying the right company, technology, and products required to meet the national need.

Chaired by MoMP, a ministerial committee composed of the Prime Minister’s Office, the National Bank of Ethiopia, the Ministry of Finance, and others, is in charge of the negotiations.

The objective is to begin the development and transformation of the resource when the negotiations bear fruits, Takele told reporters.

Authorities expect the natural gas resource to be utilized for fertilizer and energy investments.