Billion-barrel oil field draws Canadian company to Somalian desert

Lots of crude is a major incentive, but al-Qaeda presence a serious drawback in Puntland

by Jane Switzer

Lots of crude, but also al-Qaeda

Abdiqani Hassan/Reuters

The prospect of plentiful crude oil has lured one Canadian company to northern Somalia’s hard-to-reach desert—and al-Qaeda isn’t happy about it. Bloomberg reported that Vancouver-based Africa Oil Corp. plans to invest $50 million to drill two wells in northern Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region, which is home to the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab militia. The first well, to be completed in March, will be the first drilled in Somalia in more than 20 years.

Africa Oil predicts the Dharoor Block in Puntland holds a bounty of over one billion barrels of oil, but the risks are equally large. An al-Shabaab Twitter post cited by Reuters rejects the intrusion of Western companies and warns of potential local threats: “Western companies must be fully aware that all exploration rights and drilling contracts in N. Eastern Somalia are now permanently nullified.” Africa Oil CEO Keith Hill acknowedged that there are “significant” security costs and insurance premiums for operating in war-torn Somalia. Still, given the insatiable global thirst for crude, Hill says the rarity of a “billion-barrel oil field” is a risk worth the reward.




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Billion-barrel oil field draws Canadian company to Somalian desert

  1. it seems your experts know more about our country than as Somali’s, do you really think we will let those rag tag Shabaab arseholes come to our region and stop us from progress, not in a million years, the oil companies security is our responsibility, we invited them to our house and we will look after them.

    we will even invite Isreali companies to come and explore our resource, in somalia everyman is responsible in his region, our brothers in the South chose to accommodate the Shabaab terrorist, we in the East of Somalia chose a different path for our people, each to his own.

    so please stop the propaganda of they can do something in Puntland they can’t and we will not let the terrorist stop our progress.    

    • Thank you for adding a voice of reason. It is very heartening to your message against terrorism. Thank you so much.
      Oregon, USA

    • These rag tag terrorists have no jurisdiction in North Eastern Somalia. The local government, the clan elders and the civil society of Puntland are all very existed about the opportunity that  this project may bring to our region and we´re hoping that peace and unity can come to the rest of Somalia so they may share the benefits. Furthermore, as a Somali I´m happy that my native region is getting attention for positive things like oil drilling as opposed to conflict and aid dependency. These Shabab and Al Qaida people are destructive and they don´t want the people to succeed and have hopes and dreams, because they know very well that one people start to have hopes and dreams and see the light at the end of tunnel they will be finished as terrorists. One proof of that is how, just, the civilians of Puntlands commercial capital Bosaaso reported “suspicious” activities to the authorities, this lead to the Puntland police confiscating weapons headed towards the militia and arresting a number of people affliated with them, including the militia leader “Atom”´s brother. This is what people do when they have hope, they will not tolerate cowardly acts of terrorism. Thank you Africa Oil and other Companies and thank you to the Puntland authorities.

    • There is a great deal of joy, a new sunshine on the horizon if you happened to be Somali. No more Dadaab camps and Kenyan corrupted soldiers and ngo’s. No more corrupted UN office (Mahiga boy). Sorry Gabre and Meles, you hadinvested in wrond commodities, the bloodsucker warlords. They ain’t worth nothing in this market.

      London conference, naaaah, nice try though! Canada is the real deal. Way to go!

  2. i wonder, if it is all myth and just to profit from selling/paying shares in the world market,
    hopefully not.

    • The State of Puntland is ready to defend it’s territory from Alshabaab and their supporters. Somali people need the oil revenues in order to rebuild the country, so Sayid Omar is right to show patriotism, Alshabaab are on the brink of collapse, we will hunt them them down untill we eradicate from Somalia. The oil expoloration in Somalia will go ahead no matter of the false thread coming from alshabaab and their will be more new sites to be drilled in many parts of the country.

  3. This report
    is based on exaggeration! We the people of Puntland region support the oil
    drilling and are capable of defending any company doing business in Puntland.
    There is may be 15 to 20 gangs affiliated with the so called Al-Shabab (the
    Terrorist organization) hiding in a remote mountains and they don’t have the
    capability to threaten anything in our region.

    Oil drilling
    is going smoothly and there is no single incident reported. We Somalis know
    each other, we come from different tribes, and the tribes who united to make
    Puntland fully support the oil drilling and are ready to share with other
    Somalis if there is democratic and federal government in Somalia.

    It is
    expected that discovery will soon be made and this will trigger to attract
    other oil companies such as BP to start oil exploration off-shore in the Indian
    Ociean where it is said there are 100s of billions of barrals of oil wait to be
    discovered.

    Investors
    have nothing to fear!  And No terrorist
    organization can ever stop the development of our region. We reserve the right
    to invite any company to do business there.

    • Al shabab have no authority to prevent Oil exploration activities in Punt land. They are under extreme military pressure as well as ideological defeat after all islamic scholars disowned them. Al shabab threats is only empty piece meal and not more than wishfull thinking.

      viva to all Somalia, viva to oil companies viva all those peace loving people.

      by Mr Geele

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