Somaliland: Oil Search in Northern Somalia Worries UN


Engineers and visitors explore an exploratory well near Dharoor town/file

By Ilya Gridneff

Somalilandsun – Territorial disputes between the governments of Somaliland and Puntland, a separatist campaign by a clan-based group and “discrepancies” in oil licensing throughout Somalia are all contributing to simmering tensions in the region, the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea said in a May 28 memorandum. Somaliland’s planned deployment of an oil-protection force in the region may also deepen the strains, it said.
“Urgent attention must be given to this issue to avoid commercial activity triggering conflict further down the road,” said Jarat Chopra, the coordinator of the monitoring group. The document was sent to Bloomberg by a UN official who asked not to be identified because it hasn’t been released publicly.
Somaliland and Puntland dispute a border criss-crossed by oil concessions that have been awarded to companies including DNO International ASA (DNO) of Norway, Vancouver-based Horn Petroleum Corp. (HRN) and RAK Gas LLC of the United Arab Emirates. Oil deposits in Somalia may amount to as much as 110 billion barrels, according to a report published last week by the Mogadishu-based Heritage Institute for Policy Studies. Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, has 266 billion barrels of proven reserves, BP Plc data shows.
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