Ethiopian Ogaden region is sitting on one of the world’s largest untapped oil and natural gas reserves that could put many oil-rich gulf countries out of business.
British and American oil companies have deliberately left the Ogaden region untouched as a strategic reserve against future oil shortages. But energy-hungry countries such as China and Sweden are now eyeing to drill for oil in the region, and this in turn has unsettled the British and American oil companies who believe they have inherent rights over the oil deposits by virtue of Ethiopia being their client state.
For a better understanding of the what caused the 30 years war between Eritrea and Ethiopia, it is suffice to revisit the September 27, 1945 letter that was written by a U.S. oil and Gas company to James F. Byrnes, the then Secretary of State.
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SINCLAIR OIL CORPORATION
630 FIFTH AVENUE
NEW YORK, N.Y.
September 27, 1945
The honorable James F. Byrnes
Secretary of state
Dear Mr. Secretary:
My company has only recently completed an agreement with the Imperial Ethiopian government for the development of petroleum in Ethiopia.
I feel rather certain that you, personally, have been informed with request to this agreement. Unfortunately, the country of Ethiopia is an inland country, with no direct water outlet for export shipping. Should we be successful in discovering oil, we would, of necessity, be required to construct adequate pipe line facilities from Ethiopia to a suitable seaport, as well as an export shipping terminal.
If we are to proceed with our development program in Ethiopia, it is of vital importance that Eritrea should be recognized as an integral part of Ethiopia, as we would have a suitable seaport outlet.
Our entire development program will seriously be delayed and affected should Eritrea be under the domination of any other power except Ethiopia. I, therefore, urgently request that your good offices support the demand of Ethiopia with respect to Eritrea.
For your personal information, I am attaching hereto photostatic copy of the supplemental agreement between my company and the Imperial Ethiopian Government, with respect to construction of pipe lines in outboard outlets, from which you will readily see the importance to this project of the acquisition of Eritrea by Ethiopia.
Very truly yours