ADDIS ABABA, June 28 (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia on Thursday started test production of the first barrel of crude oil, the first for the East African country, raising hopes of economic transformation for its estimated 100 million population.
The test oil production was undertaken by Chinese firm Poly-GCL Petroleum Group Holdings Limited (Poly-GCL).
Speaking during a ceremony to officially launch the test crude oil production in Ethiopia's Somali regional state, Meles Alemu, Minister of Mines, Petroleum and Natural Gas, said the production of crude oil heralds a success after 100 years of trying in vain to find and extract oil in the area.
He further said the production of crude oil would ensure the sustainability of Ethiopia's economic transformation which foresees the country becoming an industrialized middle-income economy by 2025.
The Ethiopian government had back in April announced plans to generate 1 billion U.S. dollars annually from extraction of natural gas and crude oil deposits.
Yu Baodong, Chairman of Poly-GCL for his part, said the company found a high yield industrial oil flow last year through a testing in the Ogaden basin located in the Somali regional state, which marked a crucial breakthrough for Ethiopia's oil exploration.
"With an estimated daily production rate of qualified oil of 90 tons, today marks the oil and gas industry in Ethiopia marching towards the utilization of resources and market development," he said.
"Since the launch of Ethiopia oil and gas project in November 2013, POlY-GCL has always been keen on the China-Ethiopia capacity cooperation, diligently building a complete and sustainable oil and gas industry system for Ethiopia," said Yu.
The company is also currently engaged in a project to extract natural gas in Ethiopia and transport it to Djibouti through pipeline for liquidation and then shipped to the end market.
Poly-GCL is a mixed ownership clean energy company engaged in exploration and development, storage and transportation and processing, trade marketing and terminal utilization.