The size of the find, at the Qarn Qayamah 2 well, has not yet been disclosed.

Calvalley holds a 50 per cent stake in the consortium operating Block 9. India’s Reliance Industries (RIL) holds 25 per cent and the local Hood Oil owns the remaining 25 per cent. The block’s current output is 10,000 barrels a day.

In late February 2008, Yemen’s oil minister, Khaled Bahah, announced that Sanaa planned to increase oil output by more than 50 per cent to 500,000 barrels a day by 2010.

Foreign investment is needed to help with the exploration programme but security concerns continue to deter potential investors.