Somalia rejects Genel Energy's oil exploration license issued by Somaliland

Picture credit: Genel Energy

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Genel Energy LLC, an oil exploration company, does not have a legal permit to mine petroleum and other related products in the country, Somalia has noted, in response to alleged activities within the breakaway region of Somaliland where the company has been working.

The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources, while making reference to various applicable laws of the land, noted that the company is illegally operating in the country while faulting the northern region for failing to comply with the rule of law of the land.

Notably, confusion is emerging due to the fact that Somaliland claimed independence from Somalia 31 years ago but the region is yet to be recognized internationally. Legally and by all existing laws, it remains a territory in Somalia regardless of its internal mechanisms.

The ministry of petroleum insisted that it "categorically rejects Genel Energy plc's claim to own petroleum rights in Somalia's northern regions and calls upon Genel Energy plc to cease its illegal claim to own petroleum rights."

"Any authorization granted in violation of Somalia's laws and regulations is unlawful and would be considered null and void," the oil ministry said. Genel Energy had been granted permission to explore oil by Somaliland against the law of the land.

At the time of publication of this article, Somaliland and officials from Genel Energy were yet to issue their rebuttal but previously, Somaliland has insisted that it has a right to explore such resources without permission from Mogadishu.

Investigations show that the company is listed under London Stock Exchange. Further, Genel Energy has been dealing with Somaliland for a decade and signed an agreement that targeted one of the oil blocks along the border of Somalia and Ethiopia.

Earlier this month Genel said its geotechnical survey in Somaliland was complete. "This provides the data from which to plan the main civil engineering work, set to commence in the new year," it wrote on Twitter on Dec. 15.

Somalia is rich in hydrocarbons and it is just this year that it signed an agreement with Coastline Exploration Company, which triggered a momentous disagreement with member states. The country also had a major legal tussle with Kenya on the Indian Ocean maritime border dispute which ended up in the International Court of Justice.


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