By:Yusuf M Hasan
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – The government is dispatching a two member ministerial level team to brief international oil companies with perati8onal contracts in Somaliland on the just constituted Oil Protection Unit-OPU.
The team composed of the ministers of Interior and Energy Ali Mohamed Waran’ade and Eng Hussein Abdi Duale shall be travelling to Dubai on the 30th September for meetings and subsequent briefing to representatives of foreign companies which are exploring for oil in Somaliland.
Credible Somalilandsun Sources indicate that the objective of the Waran’ade –Duale meeting in Dubai is related to briefing to foreign energy firms operating in Somaliland on the OPU tender process evaluation results and the plan forward as per their Production Sharing Agreement-PSA
“The Somaliland ministers shall meet with those foreign firms, four, that have already initiated significant activities towards fulfilling their part of the PSA with Somaliland namely Genel Energy, DNO Norway, RAK Gas LLC and ANSAN WIKFI “revealed our source
The Briefing is to be dominated by issues related to the now constituted 420 member strong Oil Protection Unit –OPU mandated with securing and protecting oil exploration and extraction activities as well as on Assaye Risk , a security consultancy firm headquartered in London that shall nurture the OPU with advisory, risk assessments and training solutions .
Assaye Risk whose bid among many others from reputed international security firms won the contract to foster the OPU from infancy to maturity, is a highly specialized security risk management company headquarted in London where it is Headed by a team of directors with a wealth of expertise in managing risk globally in the private and public sectors.
Though not Confirmed Assaye Risk is expected to be available at the Dubai meeting for technical briefing on its blueprint designed for the 420 strong elite Oil protection Unit as pertains to its, OPU, provision of security services to international oil companies thus allowing the republic of Somaliland to pursue seismic operations.
“Within the blueprint, Assaye Risk clearly defined the operational remit of the OPU as defensive and pre-emptive only with a mandate confined to protective services in support of the energy industry,”Wickham said. The “government owned and commercially operated” unit would be recognized by the UN and constituted by Somaliland law” says Arabella Wickham, a director at the company adding that the firm’s approach to security risk is clear and simple yet highly effective
working with governments, the extractive industries, engineering, procurement and construction, the legal profession, the international media, the development community, private clients and investors Assaye Risk operates in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia where it offers a holistic approach to security risk that embodies the principle of consent and working with cultural understanding, sensitivity and respect to achieve sustainable, cost and operationally effective solutions.
According to the Sterling Energy chairman Alastair Beardsall “Operations in Somaliland have been delayed while the Government of the Republic of Somaliland establishes a trained and equipped Oilfield Protection Unit (“OPU”) that can provide the level of security required by the in-country operators so that future seismic and drilling operations can be conducted safely,”.
In its part Norwegian oil company DNO ASA whose staff had several shots fired near an area they were conducting a water survey on its behalf at the block 18 Somaliland says it has no plans to exit the country thence OPU shall be of great benefit.
DNO said the team was conducting a water survey in the Hudun area of the SL-18 license block in Somaliland on its behalf, as part of a DNO-funded project to provide local communities with safe drinking water and according to its Spokesperson Mr. Schwabe the company shall not be deterred in its operations.
The Tony Hayward run Anglo-Turkish firm of Genel Energy which has the largest investment in Somaliland and though being the first to cease operations and pull its staff out the country on fears of security is expected to resume operations at the various blocks it holds majority shares after the government allayed its fears and subsequent creation of OPU
Once the Government of Somaliland announced it had plans to form a special security unit known as “Somaliland Oil Protection Unit” which would guard oil exploration installations, and protect workers in the industry and their transportation systems a decision precipitated by the Genel cessation of operations in jumped the UN as usual with claims that the proposed unit was dangerous for regional security.
“Western commercial oil exploration in Sool Region of Somalia and discrepancies over which authorities can issue licenses to companies could spark further conflict in the African nation” U.N. monitors warned in a confidential report.
Having it thus the UN though presumably a body meant to be aware of issues in various countries once again totally lost in its grasp of issues Somaliland as it embraced the monitor’s report whose major guise was a dressing of exacerbated dispute in the east of the country if Somaliland went ahead with oil exploration in Sool region.
In its part the Hargeisa administration though perturbed quickly responded to the baseless UN claims with interior minister Ali M Waran’ade clearly stating that the OPU was not meant for offensive acts against neighbours nor was it capable of destabilizing the region but one geared only towards the provision of much needed protection and security to oil exploration and subsequent extraction.
With the government having sealed the Assaye Risk contract and established the OPU seismic operations shall hopefully be reinstated and finalized thence embark on the actual extraction of the now proven billions in Barrels’ of oil buried deep within the bowels of Somaliland with protection from not only a well trained but equipped and disciplined elite security force.