The vast majority of Yemen’s average production of 335,000 b/d still comes from the Marib fields found and operated by the US’ Hunt Oil Company. Elsewhere, Canadian Occidental Petroleum (CanOxy) will drill 14 exploration and appraisal wells this year in the Masila oil field and produce around 89,700 barrels a day (b/d), slightly less than in 1995.

Nirar Petroleum of Saudi Arabia is to enter a second exploration phase in Blocks 4, 16 and 33 of the Shabwa oil field. It is currently awaiting parliament’s approval of the renegotiated terms of its agreement. The exploration is part of Nimr’s plans to resume production at a rate of about 4,000 b/d by September.

Nimr suspended its operations in Yemen during the civil war of 1994.

British Gas (BG) is reconsidering the future of its operations in Yemen after drilling two dry wells in Block 38 and another well in the onshore Al-Hajar concession which yielded small quantities of oil and gas. India’s ONGC Videsh took a 30 per cent stake in Block 38 in January this year.

The UK’s Clyde Petroleum has entered a second, 30-month exploration phase in Block 32 (Howarin). Clyde drilled three wells during the first phase and will drill another three wells under the terms of the second phase agreement.

Pecten International Company, a subsidiary of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group, has sold its holding in the North Sanau oil exploration concession to Coplex Resources of Australia, increasing Coplex’s share to 37 per cent.

Canada’s TransGlobe Energy is seeking to form a joint-venture with Amoco Corporation of the US to acquire exploration rights in block 51, the Damis concession in the Shabwa area. TransGlobe says it expects a decision on the formation of a joint venture to be taken by mid-July.

Plans are moving ahead on the liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, which will involve the construction of an LNG plant and export terminal in Balhaf on the Gulf of Aden, connected to the Marib field by a 380-kilometre pipeline. The Marib concession will be run by the Yemen Exploration & Production Company, a joint venture between the state General Gas Corporation and France’s Total.

Hunt Oil Company and Exxon Corporation, both of the US, and Yukong of South Korea all joined the scheme in January, but their equity stakes have yet to be decided.

The first phase of the scheme is due to begin in September 1997, at an estimated cost of $2,600 million.

Ageing installations: investment required