Ethiopia will begin extracting crude oil on a test basis from reserves in the country’s southeast this week, state-affiliated media and the prime minister’s office said on Wednesday.
Fitsum Arega, chief of staff in Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office, said on Twitter that Abiy had met with officials from Poly-GCL Petroleum Investment Limited to “officially kick-start crude oil production test in Ogaden Region”.
“The company has discovered that there is a prospect of commercial quantities of crude oil in the region,” Fitsum wrote.
The firm is a joint venture of state-owned China POLY Group Corporation and Hong Kong-based Golden Concord Group.
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The state-affiliated Fana media quoted Abiy as saying 450 barrels would be produced on Thursday on a trial basis.
The prime minister added that full scale production of crude oil in the future, would help the state alleviate unemployment and the prevailing foreign currency shortage.
Ethiopia also projects to earn up to 8 billion US dollars annually once it begins exporting natural gas with its full capacity, he said.
A pipeline to export gas to Djibouti, will be launched in September and will take two years to complete.
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Djibouti commissions $3.5 billion Chinese-built free trade zone
Djibouti commissioned a $3.5 billion, Chinese-built free trade zone on Thursday, deepening ties with the Asian giant and helping the Horn of Africa nation generate more jobs for its youths.
Djibouti, with a population of 876,000, already hosts Chinese, U.S. and French naval bases and it also handles roughly 95 percent of the goods imported by Ethiopia, its land-locked neighbour with 99 million people.
The zone will be jointly operated by Djibouti Ports and Free Zones Authority and China’s Merchants Holdings company.
The zone which will house manufacturing and warehouse facilities, an export-processing area and a services centre, is expected to handle trade worth $7 billion within two years, and create 15,000 jobs when complete.
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