Middle East / Africa

Yemen flag
Summary | Profile

Country profile: Yemen

Location: Middle East, bordering the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Red Sea, between Oman and Saudi Arabia
Climate: mostly desert; hot and humid along west coast; temperate in western mountains affected by seasonal monsoon; extraordinarily hot, dry, harsh desert in east
Terrain: mostly desert; hot and humid along west coast; temperate in western mountains affected by seasonal monsoon; extraordinarily hot, dry, harsh desert in east
Size: 527970 sq. km total (Land area: 527970 sq. km )
Population: 23,013,376 (July 2008 est.)
Languages: Arabic
Government: republic
Capital city: Sanaa
Legal system: based on Islamic law, Turkish law, English common law, and local tribal customary law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Currency: Yemeni rial (YER)

Country profile

Yemen’s economy is highly dependent on oil production, with the country’s oil exports accounting for around 85 percent of export revenues and 33 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). In 2006, around 240,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) of oil was exported, primarily to Asian markets, including China, India, and Thailand. Recent high oil prices have increased Yemen’s hard currency receipts and remittances from Yemeni workers in other Persian Gulf countries. Nonetheless, Yemen continues to be the Middle East’s poorest county with a 2006 GDP per capita of US$ 880 according to the World Bank. Inflation was an average of 15.5 percent in 2006, partially resulting from the deteriorating value of the U.S. dollar. High oil prices have also increased the country's expenditures on petroleum product subsidies, which cost hundreds of millions of dollars per year and constitute a heavy burden on the country's budget. IMF loan conditions have required the government to reduce subsidies for consumers on both oil products and electricity but these measures have proved to be unpopular. In 2005, fuel subsidy cuts resulted in riots.

Though the government of Yemen is fairly stable following the re-election of President Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2006, security remains a concern of foreign firms doing business in Yemen. Since the attacks on the USS Cole in 2000, several other foreign interests, specifically oil interests, have been attacked—these include the bombing of the Limburg oil tanker off the coast of Yemen, causing a massive fire and the leakage of 150,000 barrels of oil into the Gulf of Aden; an unsuccessful firing of a surface-to-air missile at an oil company helicopter in 2002; the 2006 foiled suicide bomb attempt against two oil facilities just prior to the elections; and the more recent attacks on oil company personnel near the border between Marib and Shabwa governorates. In addition, there have been reports of violence in rural areas, attacks on oil company personnel and kidnappings.

Political stability in Yemen is vitally important to regional oil producers, given that Yemen sits at the entrance to the Bab el Mandab strait, which links the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean. The strait is one of the most strategic shipping lanes in the world, with an estimated 3 million barrels per day (bbl/d) oil flow. Disruption to shipping in the Bab el-Mandab could prevent tankers in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Aden from reaching the Suez Canal/Sumed pipeline complex, instead diverting them at great cost around the southern tip of Africa.

Energy production and consumption

Oil Gas
Production: 402,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)  
Consumption: 128,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)  
Exports: 320,600 bbl/day (2005 est.)  
Imports: 58,100 bbl/day (2005 est.)  
Reserves: 3 billion bbl (2007 est.)  
Major fields:

Yemen - recent news

04 Sep 23
Yemen: Zenith Energy terminates SPA for acquisition of OMV Yemen
Zenith Energy has announced that in agreement with OMV Exploration and Production it has terminated the share purchase agreement ('SPA') announced to the market on January 3, 2023, for the acquisition of 100% of the outstanding share capital of OMV Yemen.
21 Apr 23
Yemen: Boskalis to remove oil from FSO Safer in Yemen to avert environmental and humanitarian disaster
Boskalis through its subsidiary SMIT Salvage has reached an agreement with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for the oil removal from the FSO Safer moored off Yemen’s Red Sea coast. This project is a part of the UN-coordinated operation to remove and transfer more than one million barrels of oil from a decaying tanker into a safe modern tanker and the responsible disposal of the Safer.
03 Jan 23
Yemen: Zenith Energy subsidiary signs SPA for acquisition of OMV Yemen
Zenith Energy has announced that a company in which it holds a 49% interest, Zenith Energy Netherlands, has entered into a share purchase agreement ('SPA') with OMV Exploration and Production to acquire 100% of the outstanding share capital of OMV Yemen.
19 Mar 18
Yemen: Petsec Energy announces Yemen Block 7 acquisition and operatorship
Petsec Energy has completed the transaction with Oil Search to acquire a 40 per cent working interest (34 per cent participating interest) in the Al Barqa (Block 7) licence and operatorship, in the Republic of Yemen.

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