Somaliland discovers oil, announces exploratory by UK-based firm
MOGADISHU, Somalia - The breakaway region of Somaliland has formally announced the discovery of oil deposits, the ever in the history of the secessionist state, adding that exploration will be done soon by a United Kingdom-based firm which is critical in the latest development.
On Facebook, the region's Ministry of Energy announced that the oil deposits were discovered in Sallahey within Marodi-Jeh region, paving way for possible revenue sources which will help the government accomplish several development projects.
According to the ministry, authorities in collaboration with investors had launched scientific investigations before a black liquid spilled over during the drilling of a well whose intention was to look for water for the locals. Somaliland is mostly a desert with livestock being the main economic activity.
The statement added that UK firm Genel Energy would start further oil exploration and production. The company is known for such exploits in several parts of the world and the decision to award it a contract is not a surprise according to analysts.
The discovery comes two weeks after the Somali federal government warned Genel Energy against oil exploration in Somaliland without authorization from Mogadishu, saying the firm was undermining its sovereignty. Somalia insisted that all mineral resources belong to the federal government.
Somaliland declared self-independence in 1991 following a civil war in the north which left thousands of people dead but the region is yet to be recognized internationally. However, despite the current situation, Somaliland runs its own government with a legislature, Central Bank, and even judiciary.
The federal government of Somalia has been warning states against running affairs without following the laid down protocol. The sharing of resources has been a thorn in the flesh, with Puntland becoming the latest state to dissociate itself from the federal government until the new constitution is crafted and passed through a plebiscite.