Turkey to drill oil off Somali coast starting in 2025

Tuesday April 23 2024
Oil pipeline

Records show that international oil companies including Chevron, Eni, ExxonMobil and Shell began exploring in Somalia in the 1950s but stopped when the country plunged into civil war in early 1991. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK


Somalia says Turkey will begin drilling oil off the country's massive coastline from next year, according to the Director General of the Somali Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Mohamed Hashi Abdi 'Arabey'.

Talking to the BBC Somali Service, Abdi affirmed the recent assertion by a Turkish official on a plan for deep-sea oil drilling operation from early 2025.

“It is correct, and it is part of the agreement we reached (with Turkey). They will begin seismic works and drilling at the coasts facing Barawe and Hobbio districts,” Abdi, agreeing with information released by Turkey’s Energy and Natural Resources Minister Alparslan Bayraktar last week. 

Barawe is about 200 km south of Mogadishu while Hobbio is about 500 km to the northeast.

Bayraktar had stated on Friday, “There is a place on the Somali seaside we consider may have oil reserves.”

“We will start seismic work, we want to do deep sea drilling in 2025,” he added in an interview on private Turkish broadcaster NTV.


Somalia in early March had signed a new oil and gas deal with Turkey in which officials said will aid cooperation in exploration and exploitation of the hydrocarbons.

Read: Somalia, Turkey sign energy cooperation deal

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

It is believed that Somalia and Turkey signing a marine and defence cooperation agreement paved the way for the oil deal.

Some legislators, including Abdirahman Abdishakur, a former Presidential candidate, who wanted more clarifications on the marine and defence cooperation agreement, indicated that oil is included in the deal. They demanded more explanations during parliamentary debates.

Some sceptics including commentators have pointed fingers at Somalia’s looming disadvantage in the deal.

Somali Minister Omar Mohamed who signed the cooperation in exploration and exploitation further illustrated that what was agreed was a bilateral understanding, describing a broad cooperation framework.

Read: Why Turkey is helping Somalia defend its waters

An official Somalia 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.

The minister further indicated that that revenue sharing will emerge when the parties reach at a stage to sign Production Share Agreement (PSA).

Turkey’s Bayraktar expressed the deal will bring more benefits to the Somali government and people.

“With this agreement, we will carry out joint activities to bring the resources of Somalia to the Somali people,” remarked the Turkish minister.

He added that Turkey aimed at strengthening its presence in the Horn of Africa with new collaborations in the field of energy.

Read: The new scramble for Africa

To further elaborate on the energy deal, especially its feasibility, Minister Bayraktar reportedly remarked, “We will maybe send our seismic (exploration) vessel there in the first phase,” adding, “Oil and natural gas exploration offshore from Somalia will start in areas we indicated.”

In 2020, Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo, signed the Somali Petroleum Law. “The law is designed to ensure that Somalia’s petroleum resources are maximised for the benefit of the Somali people whilst establishing a robust framework for governance,” the act introduced.

Records show that international oil companies including Chevron, Eni, ExxonMobil and Shell began exploring in Somalia in the 1950s but stopped when the country plunged into civil war in early 1991.

Lately, USA’s Houston-based Coastline Exploration seemed leading a renewed interest, having reportedly acquired seven offshore blocks from Somalia's federal government in 2022.

Reports in October 2022 show that Somalia President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud supported Coastline’s Production Sharing Agreements with the Federal Government and declared the country was open for business with international companies.

Mohamud rejected skeptics, stressing it is in the best interest of the nation that Somalia will benefit from its resources including oil and gas.