By Mohamoud Hasan Qodah
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – A Somaliland Government and Genel Energy, an international company for oil exploration, agreement to assess the security status in the country has been successfully concluded.
The company which suspended operations and removed its expatriate staff last month attributed their departure from the country to insecurity saw the Somaliland government contract a team of British security experts to access the security situation in Genel operation areas as well as the nation at large.
“Genel Energy and the government of Somaliland have jointly agreed to hire security experts from UK to investigate reasons of company’s departure claim and to send them to the exploration survey sites,” Said Minister for Foreign Affairs and International relations Mr. Mohamed Bihi Yonis, while he was briefing country’s Upper House of Parliament.
The minster added that Somaliland and its people are expecting investigation of the experts to be reasonable and acceptable in order to take steps forward to development side.
“Both of us want from the security experts to analyze the issue and to ascertain the reality on the ground. Company’s departure claim doesn’t suit international company’s standard of claiming to walk out from a country. Reason of Genel energy’s decision to leave from the country is not reasonable and had no rational grounds.
Government is ready to improve its weaknesses. I and the minster for energy tried to convince the company to review its decision regarding the suspension of the exploration activities in the eastern part of the country,” Added Mr. Bihi.
In August 2012, Genel was awarded an exploration license for onshore blocks SL-10-B and SL-13 in Somaliland, with a 75% working interest in both. Genel extended its presence in November 2012 with the acquisition of 50% participating interest in the Odweine Production Sharing Agreement which covers blocks SL-6, SL-7, SL-10A.
Onshore Somaliland is a relatively unexplored region, with few exploration wells drilled. The total size of the blocks is approximately equivalent to the entire Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
Genel Energy decided to leave Somaliland in mid August of this year and pointed out security precautions to be main reason of their departure.