Somalia, Turkey sign energy cooperation deal

Thursday March 07 2024

Somalia Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Abdirisaaq Omar Mohamed (L) shakes hands with Turkish Energy Minister Alparslan Bayraktar after a signing ceremony in Istanbul, Turkey on March 7, 2024. PHOTO | X via Alparslan Bayraktar (@aBayraktar1)


Somalia on Thursday inked a new oil and gas deal with Turkey in which officials said will aid cooperation in exploration and exploitation of the hydrocarbons.

The deal was signed in Istanbul by Somalia’s Petroleum and Mineral Resources Abdirisaaq Omar Mohamed Minister and Turkish Energy Minister Alparslan Bayraktar.

It signaled tightening of relations between the two sides. The oil deal came just two weeks after Somalia and Turkey signed a marine and defence cooperation agreement. The country’s bicameral parliament endorsed both deals.

An official dispatch said the agreement targets hydrocarbon reserves in Somalia’s exclusive economic zone and land exploration that has never been developed. But the Minister declined to state how the revenues, from the investments, will be shared.

Read: Why Turkey is helping Somalia defend its waters

Abdirisaaq Omar Mohamed refuted reports that had indicated that Turkey will earn 30 percent of the revenue.


“These details will be indicated by a Production Share Agreement (PSA) when reached,” he said on Thursday.

 “What we signed is not a Production Share Agreement (PSA),” adding that it will be realised in the next stage. We signed a Cooperation Framework Agreement, which is broad like a MoU. It clarifies the role and responsibilities of both Turkey and Somalia, paving the way for PSA,” Omar Mohamed stated.

He indicated that further steps remain until a PSA is attained that illustrate the way for production when the Turkish side will obtain off-shore and on-shore oil and gas data.

“All this agreement indicated is the royalty, which by law is 5 percent, to be paid by business owners,” Omar Mohamed further indicated, further contacting provisions for the rights of each side and reference for arbitration if needed.  

Somalia’s move came just after tensions emerged with Ethiopia over a controversial Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Addis Ababa and Somalia’s breakaway region, Somaliland signed on January 1 which supposedly gave the Ethiopian government access to a strip of 20km for naval base and commercial activities in exchange for Ethiopia recognising the self-declared Somaliland as an independent country, Somalia has rallied for support.

Read: Somalia denies airspace to Ethiopian plane

All Somali institutions opposed the Ethiopian-Somaliland reached MoU, considering it null and void.  But Mogadishu has since clarified it was not engaging Turkey as a defence measure or preparatory move for war with Ethiopia.

Somalia Defence Minister Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur and Turkish counterpart Yaşar Güler had on February 22 signed a defence deal, but President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has labeled the Turkey-Somalia agreement as defence and economic cooperation pact meant to help Somalia defend its sea waters against terrorism, piracy and any external threat that could violate Somali state. It will be valid for the next 10 years.

This isn’t Turkey’s first foray into Somalia, however. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, then as Prime Minister of Turkey, was the earliest foreign heads of government to visit Mogadishu in 2011 at the height of the great famine that hit Somalia while it was also plagued by violence.

Since then, Turkey have invested heavily in Somalia health and humanitarian sectors including building the largest medical facility, and established TuirkSom – a military training base in Mogadishu. Turkish firms also run strategic installations like Mogadishu’s port and airport. Turkey has built in Mogadishu its largest embassy in the world, facing the Indian Ocean.