Business OP-ED

Spinners & Losers

Yemen is in dire need of a break, but there are many opportunities heading its way.

Yemen is hosting the third international Oil, Gas and Mineral conference this week, and it, without wanting to sound too trite, is glistening with optimism.

Many analysts and observers will write about Yemen’s bleak outlook and the myriad of challenges it faces. Finite, near-depleted oil reserves will usually feature somewhere within the superficial overview, along with a comment that Yemen’s oil will run dry within a decade, along with the oil revenues which the government relies on.

However, such predictions are usually based on calculations using only the currently proven oil reserves – they simply don’t take into account the likely possibility that oil exploration operators will discover new oil reserves.

You see, Yemen is suffering from this skin-deep apocalyptic coverage, this semi-political spin, which is abundant in both media and pseudo-academic circles. You see, whilst sensationalist commentators are spinning, it is Yemen that is losing out.

But it would only take one significant oil discovery to radically change the prospects of the country.

The coming conference is highlighting a further ten hydrocarbon blocks for exploration, and a further 75 oil operators have shown investment interest –so the gloomy backdrop of the future is slowly brightening. They say that the sky is darkest just before dawn.

Our focus, however, should not linger on what might be, in the future. We need to concentrate on what is happening now, how are those precious oil revenues being used.

We should be focusing on how Yemen is diversifying its economy, as advocated by Dr. Davidson in an exclusive article for this issue of the National Yemen.

We should be equally concerned with whether the oil industry is being sufficiently ‘Yemenized’ so to promise Yemen a future skilled labour market of international standards, as is evaluated by Mr. Al-Mutawakkel in National Yemen’s first publication, “Precious Resources” which is released this week.

We need to break out of this repetitive, and banal, pattern and theme of Yemen coverage. Hopefully this conference will be some powerful anti-propaganda in favour of Yemen.