Yemen Hunt Oil Company

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U.S. company that first discovered and developed oil in Yemen.

The Yemen Hunt Oil Company (YHOC), a subsidiary of the Hunt Oil Company of Dallas, was the first foreign company to discover and develop oil in North Yemen; the location was the Maʾib al-Jawf basin, on the edge of the desert in the eastern part of the country, and the year was 1984. Partnering with Exxon and a Korean oil company, the company rapidly developed the production-for-export capacity of that basin and built a pipeline to a terminus on the Red Sea; crude oil began to flow in 1987. YHOC also discovered very sizable natural gas deposits in the area, as yet undeveloped. In addition, it was the operator in another consortium that discovered, developed, and then began producing oil during the 1990s in what, prior to Yemeni unification, was the neutral zone between the Maʾib alJawf basin in North Yemen and the Shabwa region of South Yemen. Called the Jannah field, this area became an important contributor to oil production in unified Yemen. Hailed from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s as the ally and economic savior of Yemen, the YHOC in recent years has become something of a whipping boy over such issues as "Yemenization" and allegedly questionable accounting procedures.


Burrowes, Robert. Historical Dictionary of Yemen. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 1995.

Burrowes, Robert. The Yemen Arab Republic: The Politics of Development, 19621986. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1987.

robert d. burrowes