Southwest was founded in 2003 as a market distribution channel for energy players. The company has grown into a diversified conglomerate. Southwest operates a leading oil and gas exploration company in East Africa, holding the most acreage in Ethiopia’s largest proven hydrocarbon-bearing sedimentary basin. The company has created partnerships with multinationals since its inception, from Petronas at its formation to SABMiller when it built a mineral water company. In 2014, Southwest formed a joint venture partnership with a Chinese firm, one of the largest commodity producers in China, to establish Africa Energy Services, Ethiopia’s first local oilfield services provider.