Yemen this week prequalified a list of 18 international companies to bid for 20 oil and gas exploration licenses offered up by the Ministry of Oil and Minerals as part of a licensing round launched earlier this year, state news agency SABA reported.

This comes amid a new wave of militant-fueled instability in the poverty-stricken Arab state, which has seen the US step up its controversial drone-strike campaign there in response to what Washington described as “an immediate specific threat” against US interests. (CONTINUED - 851 WORDS)