A newly-formed British company has signed an oil and gas exploration deal with the Government of Somalia.
Under the agreement – which is the first in Somalia’s oil and gas industry following decades of civil war – Soma Oil & Gas will conduct seismic surveying in the nation’s waters agreed with the Government and in limited onshore areas.
The energy firm – whose chairman is former UK Conservative party leader Michael Howard – will collate the data and prepare an evaluation of Somalia’s petroleum potential and assist in the development of the country’s hydrocarbons sector. The survey it conducts will allow it to nominate and obtain exploration and drilling rights under production sharing agreements in prospective areas.
Robert Sheppard, CEO of Soma Oil & Gas said: “Despite large recent discoveries in East Africa, Somalia remains a significantly underexplored region. We believe that this agreement to assist the Government and the work that is due to be carried out over the next 12-18 months will provide significant momentum for the oil and gas sector in Somalia.”
Soma Oil & Gas was founded earlier this year with the aim of exploring in Somalia. Prior to 1991, a number of international oil firms were granted licences in the country, which according to oil industry experts, has some of the largest resources within East Africa.
Last year Energy Minister Greg Barker led a trade delegation of UK business leaders to East Africa to drum up renewable energy investment and some in the industry believe East Africa could be the “next Qatar” for gas exploration and production.