BloombergSoma Oil & Gas Exploration Ltd., a
U.K.-based company focused on Somalia, plans to invest about $20
million to survey the African nation rebuilding from decades of
war, Chief Executive Officer Robert Sheppard said.
Friday, August 09, 2013
The company will initially analyze any data that exists
even after conflict destroyed a large part of the country’s
infrastructure and thwarted efforts to establish a functioning
central administration and the rule of law since 1991.
“At the same time we will be looking at all the seismic
ships available in the world to see when we can get on schedule
for seismic surveying,” Sheppard said yesterday in a phone
interview from London. Work to conduct a two-dimensional seismic
study should be completed in 12 to 18 months, he said.
Somalia’s government led by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud marks the 16th administration since the ouster of
dictator Mohamed Siad Barre. The nation is positioned within a
region where oil and gas discoveries over the past seven years
have accelerated investment in exploration.
In Kenya, where Tullow Oil Plc (TLW) discovered the country’s
first crude deposit last year, output of oil is expected to
start next year. The 2006 discovery of crude in Uganda may lead
to commercial production by 2016, while explorers in natural-gas
producing Tanzania have found the biggest reserves of the
resource in eastern Africa after Mozambique.
Soma Oil & Gas, which was founded this year and whose
chairman is former British Conservative party leader Michael
Howard, announced on Aug. 6 it agreed with Somalia to gather
data from offshore areas and “limited” inland acreage. It
plans to build a data bank on behalf of the government.
“Depending on the data we find we will decide which blocks
to apply for” exploration and drilling rights, Sheppard said.
Somalia plans to increase the number of oil and gas
exploration blocks to 300 of 5,000 square kilometers (1,931
square miles) each, after sub-dividing the existing 25 areas,
Hussein Ali Ahmed, managing director of state-owned Somalia
Petroleum Corp., said in April. Somalia aims to sign as many as
30 oil and gas production contracts this year, he said.