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Puntland and Somalia Oil: Who owns the Resources? and will Oil be found?

By Dr.Mohamed Said, 11th March 2012

Somalia is claimed to have vast resources of oil and gas in a report presented in the late 80's by the world Bank (The Harms and Bradey Report) . Some Study was done in the eighties by major oil companies and then did they realize that Somalia and Sudan had the best chances of finding oil and gas in the Eastern Africa region. Today, Sudan produces about 500,000 barrels of Oil a day though due to politics again that number has dwindled with the separation of Sudan into South and North and Somalia ZERO barrels of oil a day.  Why are we in this quagmire in Somalia?

Wikileaks and other reliable sources also point to collusion between President Abdirahman Farole and Prime Minister Abdiwali M. Ali that they own shares through their families in Horn Petroleum (51% owned by Africa Oil) which was created recently in July 2011 just after Prime Minister Abdiwali M. Ali came to power at the Transitional Federal Government based in Mogadishu.  The ownership structure also looks one sided with the Oil companies owning 70% while the Puntland Government owns 30% -  the real question is where are the Somali Parliamentarian at both the Puntland and TFG level who are to debate strategic issues of this nature and why are they silent on this issue? The above solid information should lead to the impeachment of both Prime Minister Abdiwali M. Ali and President Farole of Puntland for corruption and abuse of office.

Currently, the ongoing drilling for two wells in Puntland was done without a proper technical analysis and the reasons are found here in my humble view:

Horn Petroleum, Range Resources and Africa Oil announced recently that they have crossed the 2053Metres with no oil but only some shows – we knew that even before they started the drilling. They were only stating an obvious statement. Their target or in industry jargon TD was going to be 3800 metres (see their 7th March report here: – my humble bet is, these guys will find nothing. A similar case study can be found at what happened in 2005 offshore Kenya where Woodside petroleum booked a health $40million tax loss and the whole public relations fiasco of not finding oil was left to the Kenyan Government and its Ministry of energy – a wrong spot or prospect was drilled without proper due diligence. It took several years the Kenyan government to bring interest back at its E&P sector.

Further, we have the following from Africa Oil ….’ The operator has mapped numerous prospects and leads across both the Nugaal Valley and Dharoor Valley rifts that appear to display some of the key elements recognized within the Yemeni rift analogues. Although the prospectivity is based solely on the loose grids of 2D seismic and potential field data, potential play fairways and large trapping geometries can be mapped’ – why not do more mappings?(Ref: here  

Classified Information we have gathered from reliable sources also point to …‘a well planned process and collusion between some Arab states and the companies drilling for oil in Puntland. The collusion is in the form of Saracen a mercenary company with connections to British and South African former special forces which is being funded by the UAE government to the tune of several tens of millions of dollars for protecting Puntland oil and gas companies from threats of resistance and a meagre return that the oil companies will drill at a wrong place and that they shall be guided on where to drill for oil and gas……. That might Result in the downgrading for the prospects of oil and gas in Puntland and Somalia as an oil and gas province’.

The Site at Shabeele-1 was decided only on a mere couple of hundreds of 2D seismic, no 3D Seismic, no Geochem Study,  no Aeromagnetic Study, and with a possible old data that is hard to process which will result in ZERO finding and NO OIL at that end. According to industry best practice and international bench-marking in the E&P sector what this junior companies have done  is like committing treason of sorts on the technical front.

Further Studies point to… ‘There were three wells drilled within the Nugal Valley. The two key wells drilled within the Nugaal Basin are the Nogal 1 and Kalis-1. The drilling reports for these two wells indicated that Lower Cretaceous and Jurassic sandstone targets were not reached but that oil shows were found in some of the shallower sandstones – why not reach the targets?. The Darin 1 well drilled on the rim of the Dharoor Valley, outside the rift valley sequence and also off-structure, though it encountered dead or heavy oil shows in several horizons’.

Surface oil seeps, as well as oil shows reported in several exploration wells drilled by previous operators in the area, indicate that the source rocks have generated hydrocarbons and that they have migrated through the system – why not drill in this basin first which had clear targets shown by Conoco in the late 80’s – they spent over $150million dollars then which is equivalent of almost $1Billion of today. Surely, will they really walk away from their assets in Somalia and Even AGIP- ENI has block 31 on its Balance Sheet?

 The Oil companies currently drilling in Puntland will not lose anything in this virtual transaction they will gain and post a tax loss on the balance sheet of their companies and secondly they can use the dry well for, yes – Nuclear waste disposal that can generate hundreds of millions of dollars and Farole’s sons are taking that deal by the nose. (Please see my previous article Puntland: Is it Oil exploration or dumping of nuclear waste?

Finally, who really owns the assets of Oil and gas in Puntland? Information on Wikipedia ( and IHS ( really question the ownership of Oil and gas in Somalia.  We heard recently that AGIP-ENI and Conoco have lodged complaints at the Hague for violations of their concessions in Somalia. 

In Somalia, we have vast resources of oil and gas but we need to search and manage it wisely or else we shall go the way of Libya, Syria, Nigeria, and Afghanistan where government have collapsed or are on the way to collapsing or in the GCC countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar where financial and political policies are made for them and will be misguided and their finances shall be controlled by virtual companies in tax havens.

Puntland, and Somalia at large welcome to the murky world of Oil and Gas Geopolitics where friends and foes cannot be differentiated on face value.

The writer is an Energy and Resources Management Consultant and can be contacted at 



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