ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia has discovered new oil deposits which if explored would tremendously change the economy of the Horn of Africa nation which has lately been struggling with internal conflicts and civil war in the northern state of Tigray.
Tekele Uma Banti, the Minister of Mines and Petroleum, confirmed the news on Wednesday, noting that exploration will begin immediately to the benefit of the people of Ethiopia. Ethiopia is a landlocked nation that solely depends on oil imports from the Middle East and other parts of Africa.
A study conducted in Warra IIuu within Abay Basin, he said, shows that the country has more than 2 billion barrels of crude oil. This, he noted, would help the country reduce foreign imports besides increasing employment opportunities for thousands of struggling people in the country.
“Oil exploration is being conducted in 5 basins throughout Ethiopia. In an oil exploration study conducted in Warra Iluu, part of the Abay basin, the study showed that there are more than 2 billion barrels of crude oil,” the minister said in a tweet after meeting several stakeholders.
“The government is working on utilizing the crude oil resources discovered, to ensure the prosperity of the nation,” added the minister, who is a staunch supporter of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, an engineer who has struggled to contain growing rebellion in the country, that has left thousands of people dead.
Should the country kickstart exploration, it means Ethiopia will be one of the biggest oil-producing nations in East Africa and the entire Horn of Africa, which heavily relies on foreign imports which come mainly from the Middle East and northern part of Africa.
Ethiopia will join the league of South Sudan which has the rich potential of oil but has not been fully explored due to the civil war that has lasted for decades. It was anticipated that South Sudan would be able to serve the entire region, which has a significant shortage of petroleum products.
Thousands of Ethiopians are also struggling with unemployment which has skyrocketed for the past decade, leaving the population vulnerable on all fronts of the economy. Ethiopia will also seek to be Africa’s economic powerhouse should the exploration be made in the coming months.