Somalia keen to showcase its untapped potential to the world
Abdirashid Mohamed Ahmed, Somali’s minister of petroleum and mineral resources, will be attending Africa Oil Week (AOW) 2019 from 4-8 November in Cape Town, South Africa, to attract international oil and gas companies to the country.
Ahmed will use the AOW to present the vision and objectives of the Somali national oil and gas sector in front of financiers and operators.
“This year is a landmark in the development of Somalia’s natural resources…the ministry has worked successfully with the federal member states to create an equitable and transparent framework to develop natural resources for the greater good of Somalia,” he added.
Somalia is expected to honor most legacy contracts. An agreement has already been reached with Shell and ExxonMobil to settle rental fee payments for offshore blocks (part of a dormant joint venture).
However, it does not appear that either company is rushing back to the country, with Shell stating that “the payment does not affect force majeure status, which remains in place”.
Despite this, Ahmed has reason to hope that investment will begin to flow into Somalia.
Seismic surveys conducted by British companies Soma Oil & Gas and Spectrum Geo suggest the country has promising offshore oil reserves of up to 100bn bbl.
Moreover, recent oil discoveries in Uganda, and massive gas discoveries offshore Tanzania and Mozambique, mean that oil companies have flocked to East Africa in recent years – Somalia could well become a beneficiary of this trend.
Paul Sinclair, the summit’s director of government relations, commented, “We are working closely with the minister to ensure that the global private sector benefits from exclusive opportunities going live in a Somali National Showcase at Africa Oil Week.”