Somaliland: Genel Energy Dedicated to Mutually Beneficial Oil and Gas Exploration

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Genel's Tony Howard briefs the press at the Hargeisa presidency after announcing confidence in Somaliland/file

By: Eng. Hussein Adan Igeh

Somalilandsun – The most pathetic pessimist on earth is the person who denies the good things that has been done for the wider social and public interest, regardless who has done it!

The current government deals with challenging issues of today as well as for tomorrow; focusing mainly on those issues (national and international) that really matters and affects the lives of Somaliland people.

Genel Energy’s come back to Somaliland Republic seems to have a demoralizing implication to Somaliland’s opponents, distracters to development as well as to those unbalanced and immature politicians that are lacking of tact, vision and context driven political conviction that are continuously spreading false and damaging stories about the country’s development, international firms investing the country as well as the president and his cabinet members.

Genel Energy is back, this time on a permanent tenure!

On Wednesday, 20th Nov. 2013, a high profile delegation of Genel Energy Firm led by the company’s CEO Mr. Tony Hayward came with a direct special flight (the first of its kind) from Luton (UK) to Somaliland’s Capital Hargeisa.

Genel Energy, the British-Turkish Energy Production Company has returned to Somaliland and declared its commitments of continuing Oil and Gas exploration activities in the country, this time on a permanent tenure. During a joint press briefing with the Minister of Minerals & Energy Hon. Hussein A. Dualeh, Mr. Hayward stated that he was very happy that his company was returning to Somaliland and he pledged the firm will step up its efforts to pursuit of prospecting of Oil and Gas for the benefits of each and everyone in the Somaliland Republic. Mr. Hayward also hailed the meeting with the President of Somaliland and his ministerial team as a fruitful one and expressed his delight and pleasure of its result.

In 2012 Genel Energy obtained substantial acreage in Somaliland, investing two sizeable blocks in central-east Somaliland and started pre-elemi nary exploration work programme for both blocks. Genel Energy was so far in the process of prospecting Oil and Gas in Somaliland. The company has been committed to and implemented an extensive searching work programme and completed environmental impact assessments and aerial surveys. In addition, a significant work preparation has been made for acquiring 2-D Seismic data collection, before Genel Energy unexpectedly departed out of the country. Early September 2013, all at once the company halted its operations, this due to operational and local challenges, including ‘security concerns’.

Some of the Genel Energy Oil Blocks in Somaliland with proven oil deposits in billions of barrels

The natural resources belong to all citizens, not to a certain clan or sub-clan!

To the frustration of many Somaliland’s citizens at home and in abroad, Genel Energy’s abrupt departure has created a climate of collective confusion; each end of the political spectrum in the Somaliland Republic was attacking the other, laying blame for creating a climate of mistrust and public upheaval that could have fostered a such division.

The statehood and clan loyalties have a destructive effect on each other. In most of the cases, the frame of mind of loyalty to a particular clan cannot coexist with a wider societal context where Somalilanders are considered to belong to and being part of a democratic constitutional state. When the citizens of the country are the main obstacles that hold back for the government’s development attempt, I wonder what for power the state yet would have to fulfil its obligations towards the people and country! In Somaliland, the main sticking point of the statehood, social progress and state institutions is the tribal mindedness of Somalilanders themselves.

It was very sad, shocking and shameful to have noticed that some clans openly interfered with contracts signed by the government with international firms.

We know now in details that there has been threatening letters sent to Genel Energy by tribal minded Diaspora groups who claimed to be the rightful owners of any oil contracts in their specific areas. Those untrustworthy Diaspora groups should know that the natural resources do not belong to a certain clan or sub-clan where it is found but it is the assets of all citizens in the country. The state has obligations to protect the interest of the nation and every citizen has a right to the natural resources whose management is strictly the constitutional task and duty of the central government.

Progress-loving people is the only guarantee for future prosperity

The government of Somaliland is committed to working attentively with Genel Energy to help make possible the sustained success of this vital national project. The government has not only guaranteed of conducive working environment free from trouble and harassment by distracters to development but all relevant issues pertaining to its contractual obligations.

The government has taken audacious steps to protect and take full possession of the country’s natural resources to make sure the success of the exploration effort. The government shall embark on a major public awareness building and community engagement programme to realize a mutual and favourable working situation. Furthermore, before any major operation begins, there will be established a national security protective force which will protect and ensure overall safety of the expatriates while carrying out their work.

If our people are wise enough, we should embrace and welcome any attempt and anyone who is willing to explore, prospect and develop the natural resources of the country. Our people must become aware of the value and necessity of such projects concerning country’s development and in particular for the advancement of prosperity level of the citizens of this country. Thwarting and threatening international oil companies wishing to do business with our country (which is not yet recognized) is an unprecedented stupidity!

In order to avert any similar situation in which Genel Energy has stumbled upon, the citizens of this country should realize the importance and impact of this project in relation to the country’s development as well as our people’s future wealth. We must take note of the mistakes made in the past that caused the company (Genel Energy) halted its operations. The lessons should be learned and then acted on them. Additionally, there should be a severe punishment for any person or group of Eng Hussein Deyrpersons found acting damagingly to national concern or any other ruthless groups found engaging in acts similar to those of threatening International Energy Firms into suspension of ongoing exploration activities.

Long Live and may ALLAH bless the Somaliland Republic and its Noble people

Eng. Hussein Adan Igeh (Hussein Deyr) [Hargeisa, Somaliland]

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