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.
450 barrels will be produced on Thursday 28 June 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 at its full capacity.
A pipeline to export gas to Djibouti will be launched in September and will take two years to complete.