Analysis

Ethiopia Bets on Oil Exploration Despite Rebel Threats
Ethiopian Orthodox priests are pictured at Holy Trinity church for burial of Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenaw in Addis Ababa on September 2, 2012. (CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/GettyImages)
February 28, 2013
| Economics, Energy
| Africa
Summary
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Ethiopia is stepping up its efforts to boost oil and gas exploration following a series of recent discoveries in East Africa, signing its third exploration and production agreement with Canada-based Africa Oil Corp. [Toronto: AOI] on February 24. Successful discoveries by the company, which is collaborating with London-based Tullow Oil Plc. [London: TLW] and New Age Ethiopian Ltd, are likely to attract other companies including Chevron Corp. [NYSE: CVX] and Marathon Petroleum Corp. [NYSE: MPC], which have thus far taken a wait-and-see attitude before pursing operations in the country.
However, recent threats from separatist rebels in Ethiopia’s eastern Ogaden region could cause these companies to have second thoughts about their exploration activities in the country. The government has been on high alert since the death of its authoritarian former Prime Minister Meles Zenawi last summer and the simmering conflict could escalate if the regime expands its security presence in the region in order to ensure the safety of oil exploration efforts.
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