16 April 2013 – East Africa is rapidly maturing as one of the most exciting oil and gas regions in the world. It is a highly promising, yet under-explored region. Ethiopia is a new exploration frontier, with multibillion barrel oil and potential, and there are many international exploration and production companies executing work plans, including Tullow and Afren. There is an active mergers and acquisition and capital markets landscape (Cove, Ophir, Dominion) as well as two recent regional entrants; BG and Anadarko.

Among the companies active in Ethiopia is privately owned South West Energy (SWE), looking to be the first African indigenous oil and gas company to open a basin in its own country. The company’s assets are located in the Ogaden Basin, the largest proven hydrocarbon basin in Ethiopia, and in the Gambella region, adjacent to the South Sudan border. SWE’s current production sharing agreements span an area of about 46,000 km2, making it one of the largest exploration acreage holders in east Africa.

SWE signed a joint study area agreement for a 63,000 km2 block in the Jimma region and conducted the study in partnership with the Ethiopian government. The successful study showed the potential for substantial deposits of oil shale and a production sharing agreement for 13,000 km2 is waiting for approval by the Ethiopian Council of Ministers.