By M.A. Egge
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – GENEL ENERGY, the British energy production firm which was in the process of prospecting for oil in Somaliland before bolting out of the country in a hush, has just returned and declared that it would continue its chores in the country on a permanent basis.
The announcement of the revelation was made shortly after the company’s CEO Mr. Tony Howard and his associates held a meeting with the Head of State (Wednesday) that lasted several hours.
Genel Energy acquired significant acreage in Somaliland in 2012, investing in two large blocks in central Somaliland and assuming operatorship for both blocks.
The company committed to and implemented an extensive exploration work program and completed environmental impact assessments and aerial surveys. Preparation work for acquiring seismic data began in earnest and nearly 400km of lines were cleared to shoot 2-D Seismic when the company halted its operations in early September 2013 due to operational challenges, including some security concerns.
Throughout the halt in operations the Government of Somaliland and Genel Energy continued a constructive dialogue, culminating in the company’s return to Hargeisa.
Mr. Howard said that he was quite happy that his firm was returning to the country and that it will step up its efforts in pursuit of prospecting for the precious commodity during a joint press briefing with the Minerals and Energy minister Hon Hussein Abdi Duale.
He hailed the meeting with the president and the Sl government as a grand one hence expressed his happiness and contentment of its outcome. “I and my team come to Hargeisa today to reassure His Excellency President Ahmed Mohamed Mahmoud (Silanyo) and his ministers of our commitments to Somaliland, we have invest over 34 million dollars and we intend on continuing to pursue our work program here in Somaliland and with luck and good fortune we hope to find Gas and Oil for the benefits of each and every one in Somaliland.
“We have had very constructive and sustainable dialogue with the President and his ministerial team about how we can progress our work in Somaliland”.
On his part Hon Duale was relieved that the long fruitful talks between GENEL ENERGY and the state has at last culminated in mutual understanding whereby all points of agreements were adopted by both parties.
He announced that the company will continue its work hence stick to its part of the bargain. In a statement the Minister of Energy and Minerals, Hon. Hussein Dualeh said:
“We are pleased to receive Mr Hayward and his Genel team back to Hargeisa. As this visit proves, Genel is committed to operating in Somaliland, it is here to stay and find oil for the benefit of the Somaliland people and its shareholders.
“The Somaliland government is committed to working closely with Genel Energy to help facilitate and the continued success of this important national project.
“Somaliland is an island of peace in a difficult region. The government has worked hard to ensure security and protect the country’s borders.
“The Government has taken bold steps to protect and take full ownership to ensure the success of the exploration effort and we shall work with our partners we shall embark on a major public awareness and engagement with the community and to establish a security protective force to protect to ensure the safety of expatriates while executing their operation before any major operation begins”.
Both parties were categorical in highlighting that that the firm is back to business, and by thus, its presence in the country would be on long term basis.
At the same venue the FM Hon Mohamed Biihi Younis reiterated the government’s commitment to work fully with GENEL ENERGY