Somalia signs oil exploration agreement for seven blocks



Somalia has signed a petroleum exploration agreement for seven offshore blocks with United States-based Coastline Exploration, the company said in a statement on Friday.

Hydrocarbon discoveries in Uganda and Kenya and huge gas finds in Mozambique and Tanzania have stoked investor interest in other parts of East Africa’s hydrocarbons potential.

Somali National News Agency quoted petroleum minister Abdirizak Omar Mohamed saying late on Thursday the agreement signed with Coastline was the finalisation of an earlier deal signed in February, without giving further details.

No government officials were immediately reachable for comment.

Coastline, an upstream oil and gas company focused on East Africa, said in a statement on Friday it had paid a $7 million signature bonus to the government and would now proceed with exploration.

In 2019, Somalia passed a petroleum sector law paving the way for exploration, especially off its coast.

Reporting by Abdi Sheikh; Writing by George Obulutsa;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle