Mogadishu (PP News Desk) — The Alliance of Somali Presidential Candidates has denounced what, in a press release, they describe as “secret oil deals with foreign companies to prospect and drill offshore oil wells in Somalia.”

In a letter addressed to the executive, legislative, judicial branches of the Government, Auditor General, the Attorney General and Presidents of Federal Member States of Somalia, Presidential  Candidates question the legality of “a secret agreements” that will enable Coastline Exploration and Liberty Petroleum Corporation to prospect and drill offshore oil wells in Somalia.

Somali Opposition Presidential Candidates question existing agreements the Federal Government of Somalia had signed with foreign companies.

“It is one of (the) debt relief conditions not to sign any resource-related agreements without resource-sharing laws” promulgated by the bicameral house, the candidates argued.

In July 2020 the Puntland Post reported that Coastline Exploration became the new name of Soma Oil and Gas, a company that in 2013, signed an agreement with the Federal Government of Somalia.

Coastline Exploration is not a legacy oil company. It needs to rely on major exploration and production companies to profit from the agreement it had signed with Somalia.

Coastline Exploration and Liberty Petroleum Corporation are not new players in the nascent oil industry in Somalia.

The first post-1991, oil agreement was signed in 2013, during the tenure of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, one of the current opposition presidential candidates.

“Any agreement signed by the Federal Government of Somalia is legally binding. Opposition presidential candidates shouldn’t be politicising agreements with foreign companies. There are no oil agreements signed by the incumbent Federal Government of Somalia. If Coastline Exploration subcontracts another company, it is within its rights under the agreement. If the agreement is flawed we must ask ‘who signed it in the first place?”‘ says an MP, who spoke to the Puntland Post on the condition of anonymity.

Hassan Ali Kheire, a Presidential Candidate and former Somali Prime Minister, was an executive of Soma Oil and Gas.

Liberty Petroleum Corporation owns PetroQuest Africa, a company that, in 2013, “signed a deal for a block with the regional government of Galmudug”, as reported by the Financial Times.

This article first appeared in the © Puntland Post, 2021 and is republished with permission.

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