ADDIS ABABA, April 11 (Xinhua) -- The Ethiopian government on Wednesday announced its plan to generate close to 1 billion U.S. dollars on annual basis from the recently discovered natural gas.
The 7 to 8 billion cubic trillion feet (TFC) of natural gas in Ethiopia's Somali regional state was recently discovered by the Chinese firm Poly-GCL.
"We are expecting a one billion U.S. dollar revenue from gas export in the first year of operation, anticipating the figure would rise in the subsequent years due to the huge reserve," Ethiopian Minister Mines, Natural Gas and Petroleum, Motuma Mekassa, was quoted by state newspaper on Wednesday as saying.
Mekassa also said that due to the expensive nature of the processing procedures an agreement was reached with the Chinese Poly-GCL to install a pipeline and transport the gas to Ethiopia's neighboring country Djibouti.
According to Mekassa, the Chinese firm is also expected to build a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant in Djibouti Port so as to process the natural gas and export it to China.
He also revealed an ongoing negotiation between the Chinese Poly-GCL and Djibouti's government in the construction of the pipeline and liquefied gas plant, in which the Ethiopian government is helping the two parties reach the final agreement.
The gas discovery is a great phenomenon which is expected to make a meaningful contribution in sustaining country's rapid economic growth in the years to come, according to Mekassa.
"Ethiopia has witnessed non-oil driven economic growth for over a decade and the discovered gas is essential in diversifying the economy and enlarging natural resources contribution to the country's GDP," he explained.
The energy sector is one of Ethiopia's priorities as the country envisaged to become a light manufacturing hub in Africa and a middle-income economy by 2025.
Officials at the Ethiopian Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy (MoWIE) on Monday told Xinhua that Ethiopia is presently working to reach 17,300 MW of energy by the end of 2020, from the current 4,280 MW of energy through energy projects in hydro, wind, geothermal and biomass energy.