Somaliland’s mining and energy minister, Hussein Abdi Dualeh has claimed that the internationally unrecognised state could see companies drilling for oil within its borders by 2014.
At an African oil conference, Hussein said, “Last year we were seen as a frontier because nothing was happening. But now the biggest exploration activities in 21 years are about to start.”
As well as not being internationally recognised, Somaliland lies in a region that is routinely associated with lawlessness and piracy. The East African region however, is becoming something of a hotbed of oil and gas activity, with nearby Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique all reporting discoveries. Dualeh echoed the growing optimism that industry attention has brought to the region: “In the oil business we don’t care about politics, but about geology. Wherever the geology is good, we’re here.”
According to Dualeh, Ophir Energy, Jacka Resources and Genel Energy have all expressed an interest in drilling for oil in Somaliland. Genel had announced earlier in the year that it had obtained the licenses to two blocks (13 and 10b). The area has similar geology to Yemen and could potentially hold up to 1 billion bbls of oil.
Initial investments in the region are expected to only amount to a few tens of millions of dollars, which whilst relatively insignificant for the oil industry could act as a significant financial boon to the self-declared state.
Edited from various sources by David Bizley