Yemen Oil Minister: To Auction Offshore E&P Blocks in 2H 2007

NEW DELHI, Jan 16, 2007 (Dow Jones Commodities News via Comtex)

Yemen will launch its first offshore oil and gas licensing round in the second half of 2007, the country's oil minister said Tuesday.

"We are going to have an offshore round, we're expecting to offer 5 to 10 blocks," Khalid Mahfoudh Bahah told reporters on the sidelines of the Petrotech 2007 International Oil & Gas Conference in New Delhi.

The Yemini oil minister also said India's Reliance Industries Ltd. (500325.BY) and Yemen's Hoodoil are working on plans to build a new 50,000-barrel a day refinery along Yemen's Red Sea coast.

The two companies are likely to be equal partners in the project, Bahah added.

Yemen would be happy with Brent crude prices remaining in the $55-60-a-barrel range, Bahah said.

"Current Brent prices are acceptable. If (the average annual price) goes below $55, that will (adversely) affect our economy," the minister said.

"We have adjusted our budget to a crude price of $55 a barrel."

Yemen has proven oil reserves of 2,900 million barrels and produced 426,000 barrels a day of crude in 2005, according to the BP Statistical Review.

Copyright (c) 2007 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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