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Ministry petroleum team set up
The Indian Ocean Newsletter
February 19, 2013

The new duo actors in Mogadishu`s Oil pipe-dream team: Jay Park (left) and Patrick Molliere (right)

Somalian Minister of Natural Resources Abdirizak Omar Mohamed has just set up his new oil team. On February 17, he officially appointed two foreign advisers who had already been working for his predecessor. They are Frenchman Patrick Mollière, head of Aldric Global of Singapore, and Canadian J. Jay Park of Norton Rose Canada. Mollière is now special adviser to the Somalian government on oil matters and Park legal adviser on oil matters. Mollière has been given four briefs: to facilitate negotiations with holders of prior rights with a view to signing new production sharing agreements in keeping with the petroleum law; to help the Commission of Petroleum & Mineral Resources (CPMR) and Somalia Petroleum Company (SPC), which is currently in the process of being set up, to find partners; to prepare a round of bidding as a prelude to the award of new production sharing agreements; to help the ministry of natural resources with any other task required.

Jay, on the other hand, must advise the government, the national resources ministry, the CPMR and the SPC, on all the legal aspects of petroleum questions.

The principal Western embassies in Nairobi were informed immediately of these appointments, which were also notified by email to oil companies interested in Somalia. As they did for the preceding government, the two Westerners will work with three Somalis: Abdullahi Haider, special adviser at the natural resources ministry, Hussein Ahmed, managing director of SPC, and Mohamud Olow, ambassador In Indonesia.

© Copyrights 2013 Indigo Publications All Rights Reserved

Mogadishu`s new “Oil Sheikhs” duo: Minister Abdirizak Omar Mohamed and Abdullahi Haider, special adviser at the natural resources ministry

The petroleum team`s duo
The Indian Ocean Newsletter
November 03, 2012

Abdullahi Haider, an advisor to the Mogadishu energy ministry, attended the Africa Oil Week in Cape Town this week, all expenses paid by an oil services company.

The 25 page document that Abdullahi Haider, an advisor to the Somalian energy minister, should use for his talk at the Africa Oil Week conference in Cape Town covers various aspects such as the geological outline, a list of permits in “force majeure”, tax issues and likely procedures. He will also present the “petroleum team” that the outgoing Somalian government created in 2006 and the next energy minister will have to decide whether or not to maintain.

The tasks in the operation of this team are split as follows: legal issues are handled by Jay Park, a partner in the Canadian law firm Norton Rose, whereas negotiations with oil companies are the job of Aldric Global Pte Ltd, the company owned by the Frenchman Patrick Molliere. The latter was the advisor to the CEO of the Indonesian company MedcoEnergi in 2005 (ION 1221) when it was hired by the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) to draw up the oil industry bill.

© Copyrights 2012 Indigo Publications All Rights Reserved

Abdirazaq Omar Mohamed
Africa Energy Intelligence
November 21, 2012

Somali`s new natural resources minister, Abdirazaq Omar Mohamed, is a distant relative of president Hassan Sheikh Muhamud: he is the nephew of Muhamud`s half brother. Somalia`s leader is counting on Mohamed, who hails from the same Hawadle ethnic community as his mother, to give a push to oil exploration after a 20 year hiatus resulting from civil conflict. In addition to the challenge of luring companies currently in a situation of force majeure (Shell, Chevron, Marathon) back to the country, the new minister will need to begin prickly talks with the break-away provinces of Puntland and Somaliland. The two territories continued to award licenses for blocks and have been explored (wells by Africa Oil) without referring to Mogadishu. Somaliland`s energy minister, Hussein abdi Dualeh doesn`t see any threat to his territory by the new government in Mogadishu.

He considers his people voted overwhelmingly in favour of independence and that Somaliland has the right to decide on its oil future.

© Copyright 2012 Indigo Publications All Rights Reserved

Looking for an oil partner
The Indian Ocean Newsletter
September 08, 2007

Alongside the insecurity which rules in Mogadishu, a struggle for influence is under way over the choice of international partner to explore for oil in the country. While President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed and his liege and namesake, the Minister for Energy Abdullahi Yusuf Mohamed are making sheep`s eyes at China, the Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi and his team are favouring two companies from Muslim countries: MedcoEnergi of Indonesia and the Kuwait Energy Company (KEC). These two firms were contracted by the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) two years ago to draft the text of an oil bill. This bill has yet to be approved by the Somalian Parliament. At the same time, these two companies offered to acquire 49% between them of the future Somalia Petroleum Corporation (SPC).The Medco Frenchman. One of the instigators of this project is the Frenchman Patrick Mollière, an advisor to the CEO of Medco.

He had been contacted by the Somalian ambassador to Indonesia, Mohamud Olow Barow, to draft this oil legislation. Mollière subsequently joined forces with the firm KEC for this consulting contract. KEC`s CEO, Sara Akbar, now considers herself one of Gedi`s friends. Mollière also subcontracted some of the work to two lawyers specialising in oil matters: J. Jay Park and Thomas E. Valentine from the law firm McLeod Dixon LLP. This team, plus three other Medco executives (Hilmi Panigoro, Indra Prawirodipooero and Iman Suseno) and the representatives of KEC (Akbar, Manssour Aboukhamseen and Mohammad Al-Howqal) constitute a team of international counsellors which advises the Somalia Petroleum Law Team, which in its turn consists of eight Somalian officials headed by Hussein Ali Ahmed, Gedi`s special advisor on oil and gas and a former mayor of Mogadishu. This Somalian team also includes Mohamud Olow Barow and Mohamed Farah Dirie (permanent secretary of the oil ministry). After holding several meetings in Djakarta and Kenya last year, Mollière recently went to Baidoa to present this oil project. He also asked Rajeev Madhavan (then in charge of the company IHS Energy) to speak at one of these meetings on the preparation of calls for tender for the attribution of oil concessions. Indeed, HIS won a contract from the TFG precisely for this.

Indonesia vs China

While advocating the creation of an SPC that could then form partnerships with foreign companies wanting oil exploration licences in Somalia, the firms Medco and KES protected their backs. They discreetly negotiated their acquisition of a 49% stake in this SPC, which must nevertheless be officialised after the oil bill comes into force. These discussions were supported by the Indonesian lobby within the TFG consisting of Mohamud Olow Barow and Mohamed Farah Dirie, two men who in 2000 had been partners with the firm PT Fardi Hasballah Dwimitra in an agricultural project in Indonesia. However, the timetable devised by Gedi and his advisors to pass this oil bill and create the SPC has fallen behind schedule. One of the reasons for this is the stand-off over this issue between Gedi and the two Abdillahi Yusufs (the President and the Minister). Thus, the energy minister for his part awarded an oil prospecting licence to the Chinese company CNOOC, a move rejected by Gedi. In fact, President Abdillahi Yusuf can refuse nothing to China, which has helped him in the past and has discreetly just given him $1 million to rebuild the presidential palace in Mogadishu.

Somaliland and Puntland

There are more hurdles to the implementation of this oil bill devised by Gedi`s team: the two autonomous States in the north of Somalia are still refusing to recognise the authority of the TFG in this matter. Hargeisa has already awarded a number of oil licences but these have not resulted in very much work in the way of prospecting. Meanwhile Bossasso has joined forces with Range Resources and Canmex Minerals Corporation (recently renamed Africa Oil Corp). The Medco specialists, KEC and McLeod are obviously strongly opposed to these agreements, even if they admit that the future SPC will have to leave 10% to a local contractor in the event of finding oil. But this was not enough to persuade the authorities in Puntland and Somaliland to play ball.

Total wondering about block L22
The Indian Ocean Newsletter
February 15, 2013

After the Norwegian firm Statoil, which dropped block L26 because it was situated in a maritime zone whose boundaries were not clearly defined as being in Kenya or Somalia, now it is the turn of Total to wonder about the conditions for working its offshore block L22. Total obtained this block in June 2012 and it is in exactly the same situation as the other block (ION 1336). According to certain sources, the French oil company could, as a last resort, consider returning part of this block to the Kenyan authorities so as not to become involved in a maritime border dispute. Moreover, a delegation from Total Exploration & Production went to Nairobi this week, where Christian Lamarre, who is in charge of Kenya for Total E&P, introduced it to representatives of the government and the energy ministry to hold talks on these issues.

According to a Kenyan source, Total`s delegates wanted the Kenyan government to reach an amicable solution to the water border dispute with Somalia so that their company can carry out deep-sea search operations on block L22 (10,000 sq m, off the Lamu islands). In the absence of an overall maritime demarcation, they suggested that Kenya and Somalia should at least agree on equal shares of the revenue in the event of commercially viable deposits of oil or gas being found on the block. The Total delegation should also meet dignitaries from the Coastal Province and representatives of NGOs and media, in order to defuse any potential conflict before prospecting operations begin.

© Copyrights 2013 Indigo Publications All Rights Reserved

Mogadishu attracts investors
The Indian Ocean Newsletter
February 15, 2013

Now that the security climate has improved in Mogadishu, the property and energy sectors, as well as operating airport infrastructure, are looking desirable.

The return of many Somalians who had gone to live and work abroad and the relocation to Mogadishu of the offices of certain international organisations have bolstered the plans of a number of local private investors. One of the main financial backers for a project to build housing for Somalia`s future middle class is the founder of the al-Barakat conglomerate, Ahmed Nur Ali Jimale, whose activity already extends to a wide variety of sectors: telecommunications, import-export, money transfer and construction. They are to be built between Mogadishu and Afgoye, near Ceelasha Biyaha, in partnership with the federal government. Ahmed Nur Ali Jimale is also behind the Somali Energy Company (Seco), created several years ago and now run by Abdurazak M. Halane. Seco holds a quasi-monopoly on the production and supply of electricity to Mogadishu, after it persuaded many owners of electricity generators powering the city to sell it their equipment in return for company stock.

However, a sizeable competitor to Seco may soon make its appearance on the scene. To be sure, some Turkish companies have expressed an interest in building an electricity power station at Jazeera Beach, south of Mogadishu, and have begun negotiations with the Somalian government on this matter and also to obtain the concession for a block to search for gas in the Afgoye zone. Other Turkish entrepreneurs are beating a path to the Somalian government doors to replace the Dubai-based company SKA Air & Logistics, to operate Mogadishu airport.

© Copyrights 2013 Indigo Publications All Rights Reserved


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