Somalia has declared licences held by Genel Energy in breakaway region Somaliland to be illegal and unconstitutional.
A statement from the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources today called out Genel specifically for the alleged breaches.
Genel is planning to drill a well on the SL10B13 block, in which it has a 51% stake and is the operator. The company has said the Toosan prospect has a number of objectives, with “multiple individual prospective resource estimates” each ranging from 100 to 200 million barrels.
In November, the company said it would begin a geotechnical survey in preparation. It has begun tendering for a rig and well services, with a proposed spud date of the end of 2023 or early 2024.
Somalia’s federal government has taken umbrage with the plans, though. The government said it had been monitoring Genel closely. The company should “cease its illegal claim to own petroleum rights and to conduct petroleum operation in violation of Somalia’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and unity”, the government said.
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The ministry cited Article 44 of the constitution in slating Genel’s plans.
The article in question says natural resources shall be “negotiated by, and agreed upon” by the federal government and the member states.
The government maintains that only the Ministry of Petroleum has the legal authority to grant licences, under the Petroleum Law. It went on to say that it would take “all possible measures and pursue all legal avenues”.
The federal government’s attitude towards natural resources is disputed by some, most notably Puntland. The latter’s government issued a statement in September saying the federal Petroleum Law, of 2020, contravened the constitution.
Genel has not commented on the ministry’s statement.
Genel farmed out a stake in its SL10B13 block to Taiwan’s CPC in December 2021. CPC’s OPIC Somaliland Corp. (OSC) took a 49% stake in the block.
Taiwan has been eager to support Somaliland’s plans, while China has diplomatic relations with Somalia.