The UK-registered oil and gas exploration company focused on Somalia Soma Oil & Gas has written a letter to Rafael Dario Ramirez Carreno, Chair of the United Nations Security Council Committee requesting a meeting to discuss the allegations contained in the leaked confidential report by the United Nations Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group (the Monitoring Group).
The letter written pursuant to resolutions 751 and 1907 concerning Somalia and Eritrea, on the 17th August 2015 has Soma Oil & Gas expressing concern about the Monitoring Group’s fundamental misunderstanding of the oil and gas industry and in particular, the Capacity Building Agreements.
According to Soma Oil & Gas CEO Robert Sheppard the company is disappointed with the Monitoring Group on how it chose to leak its draft report which includes a recommendation for an oil moratorium in the country with its own investigation remaining incomplete.
“Soma Oil & Gas is looking forward to the opportunity to meet with Mr Rafael Dario Ramirez Carreno, to make clear the necessity for and positive impact of our Capacity Building Arrangement with the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources and to ascertain how our substantial investment and demonstrated commitment to the Federal Republic of Somalia can be further leveraged, through collaboration with the UN, to maximise the positive social and economic impact of Soma Oil & Gas’s work in-country,” he says.
Sheppard adds as a group mandated with reporting on security issues in the country, it is concerning that it would leak a report to the media which discloses the names of Ministry employees who may now be subject to targeting by militant, anti-government insurgents.
“The timing of this leak also coincides with what should have been a transformational period for the country’s oil and gas sector and the Company’s history, as we had completed the first phase of our Exploration Programme and were transitioning to the serious business of developing the offshore oil and gas resource of Somalia,” a statement by the company continues.
Soma Oil and Gas adds that its achievements lie in stark contrast to the continued criticism imposed on the Company and the SOA by the Monitoring Group from the very first day it was signed.
“It is difficult for me to understand how delaying this process benefits the people of Somalia and furthers peace and stability in the region,” Sheppard concludes.
United Kindgom’s Serious Fraud Office has already opened a criminal investigation into SOMA Oil & Gas Holdings Ltd, SOMA Oil & Gas Exploration Limited, SOMA Management Limited and others in relation to allegations of corruption in Somalia.