|The area offshore southern Somalia covered by the latest 2D survey. (Map courtesy Spectrum Geo)|
By Jeremy Beckman - Somalia is known to have three main oil-producing basins: the Permo-Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous. Various international oil companies explored intermittently onshore Somalia before withdrawing as security deteriorated. According to Abdulkadir Abikar Hussein, the geological survey head at the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources - speaking at a recent Spectrum seminar in London - much of the country is known to have sediments 3-5 km (1.86-3.1 mi) thick, but historically, the wells drilled were too far apart.
Following the installation of the federal government, stability has improved, leading to the renewed interest from the oil and gas sector. The Ministry itself was created in 2011 and has been working on a legal and regulatory framework to finalize terms for a competitive production-sharing agreement linked to a future bid round, which could be staged in 2018. Spectrum’s data will be available for this round, as will old legacy data, much of which CGG is managing and marketing on the Ministry’s behalf.
For security reasons the Ministry is ignoring onshore Somalia for the time being, Hussein said. “We need to first focus on the Indian Ocean, followed by a Gulf of Aden bid round in the north - if we can reach a settlement with the northern separatists.” Once the new framework and datasets are in place, he added, “we can show that Somalia means business, that the country has come back to the international community and that it is ready for really serious oil and gas exploration.”