Somalia oil minister on deal with Kuwait, Indonesia firms
Aug 13, 2007 - 11:36:06 PM

MELBOURNE, Australia Aug 13 (Garowe Online) - The petroleum minister in Somalia's interim government, Mr. Abdullahi Yusuf Mohamed, has dismissed reports that the government had inked deals with Kuwaiti and Indonesian firms to help explore the country's resources.

Minister Mohamed, who is currently visiting Australia, met with the Somali community in Melbourne on Sunday to speak about general affairs in Somalia, and oil issues in particular.

Somali Oil Minister Abdullahi Yusuf Mohamed
He said foreign firms will not own a 49% stake in the Somali Petroleum Corporation, an oil company the government plans to establish in the near future.

Minister Mohamed emphasized that the SPC will be owned 100% by the Somali government.

Kuwait Energy Company and Indonesia-based PT Medco Energy International Tbk signed a preliminary agreement with the Somali government, Reuters reported last week. [ Full story]

The Somali oil minister acknowledged that several deals had been granted to foreign companies in recent years, including Range Resources, Ltd., China-owned CNOOC, Kuwait Energy and Indonesia's PT Medco Energy, but said none has been ratified by his ministry.

He said there are some 50 agreements reached with various companies but none is legitimate until it is sanctioned by the Somali ministry of oil.

Minister Mohamed said he has not met with Range Resources representatives and has not seen their documentation. Australia-based Range signed a disputed exploration agreement in 2005 with the Puntland regional government in northern Somalia.

He said reports printed in international media regarding Somalia's oil deals are not written by the Somali ministry of oil, adding that his ministry will publish an official press release on August 27.

The government is planning to soon introduce a Petroleum Law to be debated in the Somali parliament. [ Full story]

Oil Minister Mohamed expressed much optimism about the ongoing Somali reconciliation congress, which opened in Mogadishu in July despite the continuation of violence on a near-daily basis.

He appealed to Somali expatriates to return to the homeland to help with reconstruction efforts.

Source: Garowe Online