Tag Archives: Puntland Somalia

Somalia as Security Flank for the Gulf

A battle for access to seaports is underway in one of the world’s unlikeliest places: Somalia, now caught in a regional struggle between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on one side with Qatar backed by Turkey on the other.  At stake: not just the busy waters off the Somali coast but the future stability of the country itself.

In 2017, a company owned by the United Arab Emirates government signed a $336 million contract to expand the port of Bosaso, north of Mogadishu in the semi-autonomous Somali region of Puntland.   In 2016, another UAE-owned firm took control of Berbera port in the breakaway northern region of Somaliland and pledged up to $440 million to develop it. In March 2017, Ethiopia took a stake in the port for an undisclosed sum.  The federal government in Mogadishu has long been at odds with the semi-autonomous regions of Puntland and Somaliland. The money could destabilise the country further by deepening tensions between central government, aligned with Turkey and Qatar, and Puntland and Somaliland, which both receive money from the UAE.

At the same time, Turkey, an ally of Qatar, is ramping up a multi-billion dollar investment push in Somalia. A Turkish company has run the Mogadishu port since 2014, while other Turkish firms built roads, schools and hospitals.   The rivalries have intensified since June 2017, when the most powerful Arab states, led by Saudi Arabia and including the UAE, cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting Iran and Islamist militants…

Saudi Arabia and the UAE increasingly view the Somali coastline – and Djibouti and Eritrea to the north – as their “western security flank”, according to a senior western diplomat in the Horn of Africa region…

Excerpts from  Gulf States Scramble for Somalia, Reuters, May 2, 2018

All for the Oil: Somalia and the Oil Companies

Somalia_Somaliland_Puntland_location_map

U.N. experts warn that plans by Somalia’s breakaway enclave Somaliland to deploy special forces to protect foreign oil companies could worsen conflicts in the long unstable Horn of Africa.  A confidential May 27, 2014 letter to the U.N. Security Council sanctions committee on Somalia and Eritrea, obtained by Reuters on May 30, 2014, recommends the panel consider whether the planned armed unit could be viable or not.

“The deployment of an Oil Protection Unit could play into internal and regional conflicts that appear to be brewing within Somaliland and between Somaliland and other regional authorities, if its deployment is not handled carefully or accompanied by mitigating measures,” the coordinator of the expert monitoring group, Jarat Chopra, wrote.  The experts, who monitor sanctions violations, said in July that Western commercial oil exploration in disputed areas and discrepancies over which authorities can issue licenses to companies could cause more fighting in Somalia.  Chopra’s letter repeated that “legal and constitutional discrepancies in respect of oil licensing throughout Somalia have opened the door for potential conflicts between the Federal Government of Somalia and regional authorities, and between regional authorities themselves.”

The overthrow of a dictator in 1991 plunged Somalia into two decades of violence, first at the hands of clan warlords and then Islamist militants, while two semi-autonomous regions – Puntland and Somaliland – have cropped up in northern Somalia.  About a dozen companies, including many multinational oil and gas majors, had licenses to explore Somalia before 1991, but since then Somaliland, Puntland and other authorities have granted their own licenses for the same blocks….

Excerpt, MICHELLE NICHOLS AND LOUIS CHARBONNEA, Exclusive: U.N. experts wary of Somaliland plan for armed oil protection unit, Reuters, May 30, 2014

Speculation and Anarchy Go Hand in Hand: Oil, Somalia and the final frontier

Canadian oil and gas exploration company Horn Petroleum said  it had encountered only water in a well it drilled in Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region earlier this year, the first to be sunk in the country since civil war erupted two decades ago.  The well, Shabeel North-1, reached a total depth of 3,945 metres and is now being plugged, Horn said.  Because there were no shows of oil and gas, Horn Petroleum determined a second well it drilled earlier in the year, Shabeel-1, also was dry and said the company would not test it further for hydrocarbon potential.

“While we were disappointed that we were not able to flow oil from the first two exploration wells in our Puntland (Somalia) drilling campaign, we remain highly encouraged that all of the critical elements exist for oil accumulations, namely a working petroleum system,” Horn’s chairman Keith Hill said in a statement.  While there has been speculation about finding oil in the anarchic Horn of Africa country for decades, it has no proven hydrocarbon reserves. The prospect of oil beneath Dharoor’s sandy, arid plains has elicited excitement among officials of the impoverished region. The companies estimated there could be as much as 300 million barrels of recoverable oil in the northern part of Somalia.  Somalia, mired in conflict since warlords in the early 1990s and then Islamist militants reduced the government to impotence, represents one of the final frontiers in Africa to be explored.

Horn Petroleum’s Somali wells come up dry, Reuters, Aug. 28, 2012

The Covert War in Somalia 2012

According to the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea,-