When the Ethiopian Government, in 2015, negotiated a natural gas export deal on several gas fields in the Ogaden with the Chinese Poly-GCL oil and natural gas company, worries were high that the local Somali population would not benefit from it. One year later, the European Parliament passed a resolution, condemning the war crimes and severe human rights violations which the Ethiopian security forces employed to drive locals from their ancestral lands close to the region’s natural gas fields. Yet, Ethiopian paramilitary units continued, also in 2016, to slaughter Ogaden’s inhabitants, exemplified by the infamous Liyu police’s lethal attack on Labarbar village in February 2016, during which 300 villagers were killed. On 10 January 2017, Poly-GCL began drilling the 6th petroleum and natural gas well without ever considering the project’s repercussions on the local Ogaden population.
A Chinese firm, Poly-GCL, yesterday [10 January 2017] began drilling the 6th petroleum and natural gas well at Hilal- 7 gas field in Ethiopian
Somali regional state, according to FBC report.
Poly-GCL, one of the companies engaged in natural gas exploration in Ethiopia, has so far drilled five deep gas wells around Calub and Hilala areas at the Ogaden basin.
The company had officially started yesterday [10 January 2017] the drilling of the 6th gas well-called Hilal-7, in the presence of Motuma Mekassa, Minister of Mines, Petroleum and Natural Gas and La Yifan, Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia.
In an interview with EBC, Motuma Mekassa said the country will begin extracting natural gas after three years.
“Unlike the other drillings, the digging at Hilal-7 is special as it took into consideration exploration of both petroleum and natural gas,” the minister added.
Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia, La Yifan, on his part said such kinds of projects will strengthen co-operation and bilateral ties between the two countries.
The drilling of Hilal- 7 gas field will be finalized within 6 months.
Calub, Hilala Genale areas have 4.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas deposits. The deposits were discovered in the 1970s.