Saturday, April 13, 2013

Company's quest: Find oil in Ethiopia, get it to market

(Apr 13, 2013, (Texas))--Ethiopia, one of the fabled locations of the biblical Ark of the Covenant, may have another treasure buried in its depths. A study commissioned by an Ethiopian company that hopes to be the first to bring oil to market there suggests two basins hold more than 2 billion barrels of oil.

Tewodros Ashenafi, CEO of SouthWest Energy, says his Ethiopian oil company needs $100 million. Photo: SouthWest Energy
But getting at that crude could be as challenging as getting a look at the Hebrew religious relic, which Ethiopian Orthodox Christians believe is in one of their churches.

And as with the Ark, the location and even the existence of marketable Ethiopian oil are elusive. Tewodros Ashenafi, CEO of SouthWest Energy, headquartered near the capital of Addis Ababa, sees promise in the Gambella and Jijiga basins.

In a study for SouthWest, British consulting firm Senergy estimated the regions could hold 1.6 billion to 2.9 billion barrels of oil. "Anywhere there are camels, there is oil," said Ashenafi, noting that East African neighbors including Egypt and Kenya already have profited from bountiful underground resources. "We are at the frontier in Ethiopia - the industry is still in the early stages." Read more from Houston Chronicle, Texas »

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