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ONLF Statement On Oil Exploration & Security In Ogaden


The Ethiopian regimes Mines and Energy Minister, Alemayehu Tegenu recent interview with Reuters in which he claimed that his regime’s military is in control of Ogaden is wishful thinking and is designed to give a false sense of security to oil firms who seek to exploit the oil resources of Ogaden. The facts are that Ogaden remains a war zone between the armed forces of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) and the troops of the regime. It is precisely because of this reality that the Ethiopian regime denies the international media free and unfettered access to Ogaden as this would only undermine their perception management efforts to lure oil investors to Ogaden.

These perception management efforts include a false claim that the regime is in negotiations with the ONLF. The renewal of security assurances for Ogaden by the regime to oil firms is therefore a dangerous step as the policy of the ONLF in this regard remains unchanged.

The ONLF calls on international oil firms not to be misled by the Ethiopian regime. The regime is not and has not been in control of Ogaden. The ONLF further wishes to note that this regime continues its war crimes against our civilian population, and has ordered forced resettlement’s, arbitrary arrests and acts of violence tantamount to war crimes in areas where oil exploration activities have been pursued. Oil firms should know that by partnering with this regime in Ogaden they are effectively turning a blind eye war crimes often perpetrated in their name.

The people of Ogaden recognize the mineral wealth of their country. It is the intention of the people to develop and exploit that potential once their rights to self-determination have been exercised through an internationally monitored free and unfettered expression of the peoples will for their own political future. The conduct of oil firms today vis-a-vis the people of Ogaden will be remembered and those who partner with this regime today will not gain favor in the future when the people of Ogaden gain their rights to self-determination.

Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF)

INTERVIEW-Ethiopia denies rebels chased oil, gas firms away

Thu Sep 2, 2010

* Petronas has not pulled out of Ethiopia, minister says

* Govt negotiating deals with three more oil and gas firms

By Barry Malone

ADDIS ABABA, Sept 2 (Reuters) – Rebel claims that Malaysia’s Petronas has stopped oil and gas exploration in Ethiopia are lies and three more firms are in negotiations to start exploration in the country, its mines minister said on Thursday.

Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) separatists and local media said state-owned Petronas had pulled out of the Horn of Africa nation after a gas field it was exploring was overrun by the militants in May.

“The rebels took no gas field,” Mines and Energy Minister, Alemayehu Tegenu, told Reuters in an interview. “That didn’t happen. Petronas have not ceased operations. They have just suspended work to evaluate their portfolio.”

Petronas have yet to comment on the reports.

The ONLF is fighting for independence for the mainly ethnic-Somali Ogaden and has warned international oil and gas companies to stay away or face attack.

Firms including Petronas and the Vancouver-based Africa Oil Corporation are exploring the Ogaden for potential oil and gas reserves. Twelve foreign mineral firms are exploring Ethiopia for deposits.

Apart from a small discovery of natural gas, which Petronas has signed a $1.9 million deal to extract, Ethiopia has not uncovered significant oil or gas deposits.

The government says the Ogaden basin may contain gas reserves of 4 trillion cubic feet and points to oil-producing neighbours such as Sudan and Yemen as evidence there could be major oil deposits under Ethiopia’s vast deserts.

Alemayehu said Ethiopia was secure and the government was negotiating new exploration licenses with three foreign firms. He did not name them.


“We have no complaints from companies exploring here about our security,” the minister said. “We have secured them. Our military is in control.”

Alemayehu also said peace negotiations with one faction of the ONLF were at an advanced stage. ONLF spokesmen have denied a deal is imminent.

The Ethiopian government has reported some skirmishes with the rebels in the past six months, but regular accusations from both sides are hard to verify. Journalists and aid groups cannot move in the area without government escorts.

Ethiopian forces launched an assault against the ONLF — who have been fighting for more than 20 years — after a 2007 attack on an oil exploration field owned by a subsidiary of China’s Sinopec Corp, Asia’s biggest refiner.

“Since that attack, we have secured the area,” Alemayehu said.

A British geologist was shot dead in the Ogaden last July while working for IMC Geophysics International, subcontracted to Petronas. The ONLF denied involvement and the government said ‘bandits’ were responsible.

Analysts say the rebels are incapable of ousting the government but can hamper development and weaken security forces in the Ogaden with hit-and-run attacks. (Editing by George Obulutsa and James Jukwey)

Source: http://af.reuters.com/article/energyOilNews/ idAFLDE6811W820100902

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