Somalia’s Minister for Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Abdirashid Mohamed Ahmed is hoping to use the Africa Oil Week (AOW) scheduled from November 4-8 in Cape Town, South Africa, to woo international oil and gas companies to the Horn of the African nation.
Mr Ahmed is expected to use the AOW to lay out the vision and objectives of the Somali national oil and gas sector before 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,” a statement issued and copied to energynewsafrica.com by APO Group said.
The statement said Somalia is expected to honour most of its 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 seem that either of the companies is rushing back into the country, with Shell stating that “the payment does not affect force majeure status, which remains in place.”
Despite this, Mr 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 100 billion barrels.
What is more: recent oil finds in Uganda and huge gas discoveries offshore Tanzania and Mozambique mean that oil companies have flocked to East Africa in recent years, and Somalia could well become a beneficiary of this trend.
The summit’s Director of Government Relations, Paul Sinclair, 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.”