(MENAFN - Arab News) Yemen has invited international companies to bid for exploration and development rights in five oil blocks around the country as it gives top priority to building up its oil output and reserves, Oil Minister Ahmed Dares said.
The auction aimed to attract foreign investment and increase exploration operations, he was quoted as saying in a Reuters report.
The blocks on offer are 6, 15, 84, 85 and 102, which are located in the Al-Saba'ateen basin, the Say'un-Masila basin, and the basin of Mukalla-Sayhoot, Dares told Saba.
"Increasing oil production and reserves through expanding exploration blocks... is a top priority for Yemen at the moment," Reuters quoted him as saying. Yemen is a small producer with proven oil reserves of around 3 billion barrels as of Jan. 1, 2012, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Oil reserves and production are sourced from two areas, the Marib-Jawf basin in the north, and Say'un-Masila basin in the south. The government estimates the Masila basin holds about 84 percent of the total.
Yemen is struggling to tame insurgency and rebuild its economy after years of conflict. Political turbulence last year pushed oil output below 200,000 barrels per day.
Yemen's oil and gas exports have been repeatedly interrupted by attacks on pipelines by militants or disgruntled tribesmen since anti-government protests created a power vacuum in 2011. This has led to fuel shortages and slashed earnings.