The production and export of natural gas from Ethiopia is expected to begin in 2017, according to Hailemariam Desalegn, the country’s prime minister. “Studies show the existence of natural gas reserves in several places, and they will all be gradually developed,” Hailemariam told a press conference in Addis Ababa. “For the time being, a Chinese firm is carrying out activities on the Calub and Hilala reserves.In the next two years, we plan to start exporting and using the natural gas from these areas.”

Ethiopia is thought to hold a significant about of reserves in Ogaden Basin, with officials from the Ministry of Mines estimating deposits at the Calub and Hilala fields at around 4.7 Tcf of gas and 13.6 million barrels of associated liquids.

Likewise, an Ethiopian oil marketer, National Oil Ethiopia, is looking to establish a refinery in the Horn of Africa country, eliminating some of the government’s burden of importing costly refined petroleum products from international sources like India and countries in the Gulf region.

When, or if, the refinery moves forward it is slated to have a capacity to produce 20,000 to 30,000 bpd. It was not revealed where the financing for the refinery would come from.