Today from Hiiraan Online:  _
Canadian oil firm defies Ethiopian rebel threats

Friday, March 01, 2013

This harsh region, thought to be rich in natural gas, is beginning to attract foreign investors after years of separatist violence and attacks on oil facilities.

The latest to defy the threats from rebels is Africa Oil Corp., a Canadian oil and gas company that on Sunday announced it had signed a petroleum exploration and production agreement with the Ethiopian government.

Shortly before the announcement, the Canadian company had received a direct warning from the main rebel group. The Ogaden National Liberation Front, which carried out deadly attacks on foreign oil company sites in 2007, issued a statement warning AOC not to pay what it called “blood money” to Ethiopia and saying that “the Ogaden is a battle zone that is not safe for an oil company to operate [in].”

AOC had previously played down the danger. The CEO, Keith Hill, said that the majority of the ONLF had laid down their weapons and made peace with the government and that “there is one faction left and they’re conducting talks with the new administration.” The government and the rebel group have had on-again, off-again settlement talks, but they broke down in December.


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