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Does Eritrea have Petroleum Oil?

Petroleum Oil In Eritrea?

Eritrea is known to have a an extensive amount of gold and mineral deposits but what about petroleum and natural gas? In this article, well take a look at Eritrea's past and present information of oil explorations. Much of Eritrea's natural resources have remained untouched due to the extensive wars fought with Ethiopia. According to the historian Roy Pateman, there is a distinct possibility that the coast of Massawa contains accessbile deposits of petroleum and natural gas.

There is a distinct possibility that the Red Sea off Massawa contains accessbile deposits of petroleum and natural gas. Before 1929, there were signs that petroleum was present near Massawa. Extensive drilling on the Dahlak Islands as carried out from 1938-1940 but no drilling records have survived. A well drilled by the Mobil oil company in the Red Sea in 1969 blew out with gas and condensate.The escalation of war has prevented any further systematic exploration. Ethiopia's [SIC] Eritrea's only oil refinery is located in Assab. As far as other fuels are concerned, there are scattered deposits of lignite coal. (1998, Roy Pateman, p. 214)

The following is a list of oil exploration by various companies from the years of 1938 to 1977. According to professor Gebre Hiwet Tesfagiorgis, all wells were abandoned due to instability:

(Chart and quote below are taken from Gebre Hiwet Tesfagiorgis' book; Emergent Eritrea: challenges of economic development, p.249 )
As shown in Table 1, all drilled wells except one were abandoned. The most recent and most promising well, C-1, was drilled by Mobil and Exxon. This well was recorded as a discovery well because a gas blowout occurred at 9,874 feet. As the term "gas blowout" implies, natural gas blew the drilling rig and fire was raging for several weeks. Although remarks on the well history record indicate that the gas blowout died before a relief well, C-1A, reached the necessary depth, two wells were drilled three years later. Massawa J-1 spudded July 5, 1973, and completed on August 27, 1973. This well is located 8 kilometers northwest of C-1. The same drilling rig, Shilloh, was moved to spud MN-1 at location 19 kilometers south of C-1 on september 1, 1973. This well was abandoned because of political unrest in the region. ( 1993, Gebre Hiwet Tesfagiorgis, p.249)

According to Reuters news agency, in 2008, Eritrea signed oil explorations with the Defba company. However, the results of their search has been thus far withheld from public knowledge.

"The Government of Eritrea signed two agreements with Defba Oil Share Company on oil exploration and development," the Ministry of Information said on its Web site,
"The company would undertake oil exploration activities in two blocks of the Eritrean northern territorial waters," it added.
Asmara said Defba was set up in partnership with Eritrea and the Energy Alliance Company, without elaborating. Reuters 

Perhaps an inkling was given of Eritrea's petroleum potential, when the Awsat middle eastern newspaper had asked Eritrea's president Isaias Afwerki about the amount of oil within Eritrea. The president responded with, a "large reserve" of  petroleum oil being present in Eritrea.

(Asharq Al-Awsat) This leads us to ask about the oil reserves in Eritrea. How much is this reserve and where have you reached?
(Isaias Afwerki) This is a subject that we do not wish to talk about until all the measures are completed and we actually begin. However, I can say that there is a large reserve but we should not talk about this without verifying all the angles for the sake of credibility. Awsat

In an interview given to Kenya's Daily Nation, Eritrean Ambassador to Kenya Salih Omar Abdu stated that within a year's time, oil could be struck.

Mr Abdu said Eritrea, which gained independence in 1991, is against dependence syndrome and that it was exploring for oil which could be struck by next year. The country is also rich in gold. The Daily Nation
Based on all these information, and the fact that most of Eritrea's neighbors have petroleum oil (exception: Ethiopia and Djibouti), it would seem Eritrea does indeed have oil within its territory.

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Does Eritrea have Petroleum Oil? Reviewed by Admin on 6:29 PM Rating: 5


  1. I bet you this news is going to break your heart.

    The Economist: ERITREA, GROWTH GIANT
    The Economist predicts Eritrea, which is set to begin production at its first operational gold mine, will overtake Qatar as the world's fastest-growing economy, Eritrea's growth 17%, GROWTH GIANT, world's fastest-growing countries".

    Economist Intelligence Unit
    The Economist
    David Milstead
    Dec. 27, 2010

  2. It is there, we just need to go get it. you need to invest in exploration to get rewarded with the resource...Get our gas and oil deposites breath, crack the wells open...I am 100 % there is gas in Eritrea and 85% sure there is petroleum, so patience and hard work with get us there.
    May the Eritrean people be blessed once more with hydrocarbons. Amen

  3. I don't agree with one up here. It is for sure that ERitrea was meant to be. It's all GOd's plan. You think it's a coincidence that our natural resources have remained untouch?! You think it's a coincidence that Eritrea history and archeology have remained untouched?!! NO, it's NOT! Eritrea have one of the most important and richest history and archeology in the world. Our ancestors ruled for thousands of years, it was only fair that others got to rule, such as America and European countries. Also Ethiopia had to be a part of it, because they don't have much history. But they didn't use their advantage with their allies in the best way - they remained humbled and beggers in stead of grow and show what they can.It was their turn. The history in Eritrea kills the illusion of "white-supremacy" and racism you find in specially America and also Europe. When didn't even kall them white, we kalled them ferengi, we had our own turms. We knew them thousands for years ago as people our ancestors made commerce with. It was all Gods plan. However oil is not the way to go. I'm sure we have it, but the ERitrean government wisely seems to chose a eco-friendly approach to energy consumtion. They're using wind energy, and this will grow expetensively. They'll probabaly also use solar-enrgy. As for other income, Gold and minerals are enough to boost the economy - but the man seem to focuse more on our own productivity rahter than living from primar resources, which is really wise!! And we have history and archeology that is one of the very oldest, richest, varied and very much related to all mindkind and corners of the world. We have varied beautiful nature, we have beautiful unique architecture and we have a wondeful and sweet culture - not to mention that we ourselves our good looking people. So the income from tourism is huge, alon with our hard work culture and menatlity and gold - we are rich!! We are defining our place in the world in the way our ancestors would want to us to be (not what america or europe would want us to be) and we're making the rest of Africa proud (because they have been taken away their sense of pride and dignity). Viva la bella eritrea, the land of my mother father - the land of my soul!

  4. Thank's GOD, and let's keep on praying guys AMEN.

  5. There all kinds of signs on the presence of oil in Eritrea, and it will soon be drawn out for every citizen to be taken care of. If not as much as Libya's oil reserve, there is huge oil reserve that would be big enough to go around amongst Eritrea's friends. The region will heal from having to bow down for every loaf of bread, and stand up and walk striaght with their heads held high to walk with grace.

  6. we are not receiving foreign Co's to come and invest with open arms, aggressive and savvy marketing. we are not even allowing them to invest in something we can already see & touch -- marine resources -- so that every citizen can at least have cheap access to fish products and cut-down on costly/toxic meat. right now, landlocked Botswana has more fish in the market than eritrea and eritean public has almost 0 understanding of real benefits of seafood. we need action from local administrators, for the got to have a 'deliver or move-aside' policy. enough with excuses.

  7. ..........also Ethiopia had to be a part of it, because they don't have much history. But they didn't use their advantage with their allies in the best way - they remained such kind of thinking from a man who can think even at the bottom level of rationality? this is the way how the beloved,innocent people of Eritrea and Ethiopia being victims of enmity by those who like to postpone their political power .through stupid national chauvinism. I know who the Eritrean people are ..they are beloved people ...they are strong and courageous people ....they are also brilliant people. but the rulers of the two people are the obstacles for their prosperity....the ruling regimes spray their poison in to the ordinary people ...they create competition among the people ...they tell the people that one is better than the other,, they tell that there is no common history between them ...they tell everything that can crack their brotherhood..


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