“Genel is not leaving Somaliland. We are in close discussions with Genel regarding the steps that need to be taken prior to a resumption of operations” Energy Minister Eng Hussein Abdi Duale
By Alexis Flynn
Somalilandsun – Somaliland’s government is in talks with Genel Energy PLC (GENL.LN) about the Anglo-Turkish oil company resuming its exploration operations–after they were halted due to security concerns earlier this month–the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources said in a statement.
“Genel is not leaving Somaliland. We are in close discussions with Genel regarding the steps that need to be taken prior to a resumption of operations,” said the Energy Ministry statement.
A Genel spokesman declined to comment. The company, helmed by former BP PLC (BP.LN) Chief Executive Tony Hayward, said Sept. 9 that it had called a temporary halt to its operations in Somaliland, a breakaway nation in the Horn of Africa, due to fears over a sudden spike in violence in the region.
The Somaliland government said the halt was “an opportunity to take the necessary steps to ensure planning comes into line with implementation, guaranteeing the partnership of Genel and the government of Somaliland has a long and sustainable future.”
London-listed Genel began prospecting for oil in Somaliland after acquiring a set of licenses in the area last year.
It doesn’t produce any crude oil in Somaliland, whose decision to grant exploration rights has incurred the wrath of Somalia’s recently elected central government.
Somalia maintains that any licensing of oil exploration is the sole responsibility of the federal government. However, Somaliland–which built up a degree of autonomy during two decades of civil war–says that it has the right to attract investment in the areas that it controls.