Insecurity, Political issues continue to haunt exploration in Puntland, Somalia

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Insecurity continues to paralyze oil and exploration in Puntland with many companies holding back activities until a solution is sought.

Just recently Horn Petroleum which holds licenses Puntland’s Dharoor and Nugaal blocks recently told its shareholders it had halted the planned seismic acquisition in the Dharoor Valley area which will include a regional seismic reconnaissance grid in the previously unexplored eastern portion of the basin.

Horn Petroleum was also planning a prospect specific seismic to delineate a drilling candidate in the western portion of the basin where an active petroleum system was confirmed by the most recent drilling at the Shabeel-1 and Shabeel North-1 locations.

The neighboring Somaliland government earlier in the year promised to create an oil protection unit that would secure exploration operations in the country.

Amongst the political issues include the legitimacy of oil concession contracts issued by former and present central Somali governments and the Regional States (Puntland and Somaliland), many of which cover overlapping territory which normally affect the Nugaal block.

The Company says it continues to assess the operating environment in each block from logistical, community and security perspectives with the assessments necessary to provide critical information required to plan operations in the exploration areas.

“A decision to move ahead with exploration activities will not be made until adequate resolution of the current political and operational issues is achieved,” Horn President and CEO, Jim Phillips said in the latest financial and operating results for the three and nine months ended September 30.

In August this year Horn Petroleum had said that it was looking into potential joint venture partnerships for its Dharoor Valley and Nugaal Valley exploration areas.

Horn Petroleum holds a 60% interest and operatorship in the Dharoor and Nugaal blocks encompassing a Jurassic Rift Basin on trend and analogous to the large oil fields in Yemen.

Other partners in the blocks include Range Resources and Red Emperor with 20 percent interest each.

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Author: Samuel Kamau Mbote

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