Nine oil exploring companies are currently exploring for oil in Ethiopia, investing a total of US$2.4 billion, the Ethiopian Ministry of Mines said on Tuesday.
The companies, according to state media, are operating in Gambella, South Omo, Somali, Afar and Ethiopian Rift Valley areas, and are currently at various implementation phases.
A number of foreign companies are currently showing interest in investing in the Ethiopian mining sector, with the government keen to exploit untapped mineral resources.
PetroTrans Company Ltd. has been licensed for petroleum exploration in Ogaden area in Somali State, the ministry said.
The ministry also indicated that negotiations are underway with an interested company to develop Gambella Basin for oil exploration and development.
The Gambella Basin, bordering Sudan, is believed to have oil deposits, and a number of foreign companies are working there.
It was reported earlier that Tullow Oil, a UK company, is set to start drilling its first well in Ethiopia by the end of this year.
In addition, BGP Geo Services plc, a Chinese oil company is also conducting seismic surveying in South Omo.