Jan 28, 2013

Until 2010, Hussein Abdi Dualeh worked as a simple project manager in Los Angeles overseeing the use of natural gas as fuel for cars. It was a natural progression given his downstream engineering experience and his career start in the UAE as a salesman out of high school, marketing lubricants for Abu Dhabi National Oil Company.

Those days are past. On a trip back to Abu Dhabi this month, Mr Dualeh was feted at a table of honour, knee to knee with Mohammed Al Hamli, the UAE Minister of Energy, and Tony Hayward, the former BP chief executive, in the heart of the luxurious Yas Viceroy hotel. Later, after delivering one of the keynote speeches of the morning to executives from the world’s supermajors, he enjoyed a cruise around the island before retiring to his suite.
Such is the life of the new oil minister of Somaliland.
His rapid rise to power is a product of politics and the reemergence of companies questing for oil and gas in a place that has yet to secure its statehood. Like Greenland and Iraqi Kurdistan, where wildcatters are drilling deep for oil, Somaliland administers itself by and large on its own, yet has not been recognised as a country by the United Nations. Like them, it also hopes hydrocarbons can ease its path to statehood.
“You know what really carries the day is not politics, it’s geology,” said Mr Dualeh. “If the geology is good, all bets are off.”
Somaliland has ample history to overcome. In the late 1980s, Chevron was drilling and Conoco laying airstrips thanks to oil concessions granted by the central Somalian government, which included the former Italian colony that today is known as Somalia and, to the north, the former British protectorate that calls itself Somaliland.
In 1991, militias overtook the capital of Mogadishu and deposed the government, sending Somalia into lawlessness and famine and leading foreign companies to declare force majeure. That year Somaliland declared independence.
“We actually think of ourselves as the 55th state in Africa,” said Mr Dualeh, pointing out that companies operating there are publicly traded in London and enjoy ample legal counsel. “If you have a company that has a lot of interests in Somaliland, for the safety of their interests they would rather see a full state that they’re dealing with – so it will only hasten the day that we’re being recognised.”
This time around, three independents have signed up to explore Somaliland, the best known of which is led by Mr Hayward – Genel Energy, the Turkish operator in Kurdistan. Genel is to start surveying next month and expects to drill its maiden well at the start of next year, part of a regional exploration programme that includes Morocco and the Ivory Coast.
“The challenge is given the very high quality assets in Kurdistan, how do you replicate it as you go outside?” said Mr Hayward. “Really the only way to do that is through exploration, so what we were looking for is frontier exploration opportunities where we thought there was a possibility of finding large fields.”
No one knows how much oil could be underground, in part because the exploration campaigns under the previous government were so brief. Mr Dualeh estimates that reserves could be in the billions of barrels, although he stops short of imagining a future with million-barrel-a-day output and ascendancy to Opec.
Beyond exploration, he hopes to transform the port of Berbera – a three-berth harbour that today exports sheep and frankincense – into an international fuel shipping hub, taking advantage of its deepwater geology and proximity to the Asian maritime transit route. A road and railway are also planned between Somaliland and Ethiopia, with a pipeline for Ethiopian hydrocarbons under discussion. Hopes are high for international companies such as DP World that could invest millions of dollars to transform Berbera into a world-class commercial port.
The drive to industrialise Somaliland came about three years ago with the arrival of a new president, who Mr Dualeh had served as US campaign manager. (A substantial diaspora in America furnishes votes and campaign funds.) The president then tapped him to lead the energy ministry, where he remains the only petroleum engineer.
Mr Dualeh recalled working in the United States 20 years ago and, from afar, following Chevron and Conoco’s short-lived exploration campaign.
“They were drilling and I would read this in the papers and say, ‘Oh God, I wish I could be a part of this operation,'” he said. “And guess what? I now have the whole thing in my hands.”


Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/industry-insights/energy/somaliland-exploration-in-africas-55th-state#ixzz2JDmY74nw


  1. Honestly, I think its better if we focus on renewables. Better to start work on the future than make a few bucks off of an industry that is only held up by the corps. Besides this will ensure our independence.

  2. When you see and read something that elevates your heart and shows you the future that is bright and in the making, you must share that with your compatriots, and that is what this article is all about. Take a moment and spread your wings to see how best you can be part of this coming prospect in your country – Somaliland, the “Best Kept Secret in Africa”.

    I am delighted to read this first thing in my day today. God bless Somaliland and its people.

  3. They where drilling in Holhol which is close to Xudun/Hudun in Khatumo state or the land of dhulbahante.
    We know that the war in Hundun now is for the Somaliland army to take over Hudun and advance to Holhol, the only place in Somalia that has proven oil flow. And believe me we will not allow this to happen whatever it my cost, this land belongs to us. And we have decided our future to be part of Somalia and share our welth with our fellow somali brothers and sisters, not to those who dont want to be part of Somalia anymore. Drill in your own land!!! stay away from Khatumo state and maybe we can live in peace…

    • Jama
      If I may tell you the truth, Somaliland is not interested right now to make oil explorations in your areas whether its in Holhol or other parts of your Nugaal valley and at same time, Somaliland will not allow anybody else to carry out any explorations or drilling up there. Of course, oil exploration is taking place in other parts of Eastern Somaliland which is outside of your settlements and prospects are very high. Anyway, calm down mate and welcome to have your share whatever is found in other parts of Somaliland.

      • You can share your part with me thats fine I will be happy for that, but I want to share my part with you aswell and the rest of Somalia 🙂 thats where the difference comes, Of course I expect that other part of Somalia will share with me their income from Banana, minerals, fish, cattles etc.
        So be smart and be part of Somalia. Why should I pay tax for beans and bananas and fish coming from south, why should you?

        Besides as I said before We have never been part of Somaliland, only because you control Lasanod and few other villages doesnt mean that we have given up on those places. I cannot believe that you guys think you can fool the IC and the rest of Somalia with your politics which frankly is based on clan favourism. It will not work that a certain clan will rule as a dictator over other clans and selling a cheap story to the IC. I want us to solve our differences and believe me it is simple, but if you guys continue banging the head on the wall like you did for 22 years now, it will never benefit anyone, and you can forget about oil exploration…

  4. Jama, you are a Somaliland citizen and if you run from your people, the wealth you are talking about will be taken from you and your people will not benefit a bit of it. That is 100%, because you seem to be someone who born after Siyaad Barre regime was obliterated. The penny you keep in Sool will be shared by your uncles, nephews and those belong to your tribal enclave [as you put it], if it goes to Mogadishu you will end up like we faced during that failed Union. Come up with clean mind, because there is nothing for you in Somalia. Talk to your elders who knows the history.

    The rest of our country has hydrocarbon potential you may not be familiar, and you share that with the rest of our people. The western part of our country has proven reservoirs which only waits the nest of the country to be explored, to enable us do the rest in one go.

    • Is that a threat? it will be taken from you if you dont have the same political ideology as you? come on, and you call yourself a democratic nation? This is only history repeating itself, I remember SNM crushing the strongest army in Africa, by guerrilla warfare, what do you think will stop the people of Khatumo state from doing the same thing with Somaliland. I mean they are suffering the same brutal dictatorship today as the people of Somaliland was doing 24 years ago. And by the way I was not born after Siyaad Barre, I am old enough to know history, and if there is someone twisting history in their favour then it is you.

      I only hope that people use their mind and learn from the past, if not then history will repeat itself. The dhulbahante with, Kaskiqabe, and Fiqishini has 100% chosen their faith and that is and will always remain to be part of Somalia. You see the difference between us is that you are greedy and dont want to share the litle resources you have with your fellow Somali, we wont do the same, The person in Saylac to Raaskambooni is my fellow brother and sister and will benefit from the oil in Khatumo state.!

      • Jama no more BS somalinimo love. This time is over Djiboutian are so happy so Will be somalilander. Majority speak louder so respect it.

  5. Even if Somaliland-Republic is able to make about $5Billion a year from hydrocarbons it is money that will assists Somalilanders to stop depending on NGOs and money that can be deployed to create Employment instead of politicians blaming Non-recognition as a cause.

    Un-Recognized Kurdistan has:

    – GDP of $9.6Billion a year with a population of
    – Population of 4.7Million

    If we extrapolate similar benefits for Somaliland-Republic in addition considering the Geo-Strategic location of Somaliland-Republic it is more then feasible this could be Somaliland-republic's potential future over the next 5-10years.

    Gdp by sector:

    Agriculture: 6.8%
    Industry: 22%
    Services: 1.4 %
    Housing: 20.6%
    Tourism: 19.3%
    Trade: 14.5%

    Somaliland-Republic Business community and investors have primarily focused in the property market for 22-years in the next 10years perhaps we can see greater investment in Industry & Tourism.

    • Kurdistan is not UN-recognized. Kurdistan is a geo-cultural region (not a geo-political one) where Kurds live and is located in Iran, Syria, Iraq and Turkey. Kurdistan has a population of around 30 million. I am not sure where you got your 4.7 million population from. The GDP may also be a lie. Stop chewing Khat.

      • Prior to jumping to conclusion google could help safe you from disparagement.

        Similar to Somali people Kurds are scattered across several countries. The numbers used in my example are with regards to the Kurdistan that has achieved Autonomous-Status and a de-facto state and with just those credentials it is able to export oil from it's territory without dependence on the various countries that have Kurdish citizens like Turkey, Syria and Iraq.

        🙂 The same oil company that has began work in Somaliland-Republic already exports oil from Kurdistan an Unrecognized de-facto state.

        🙂 we all know what that means… so keep begging the world for AID donations. I am Sure we will continue to give Sadaqad to Muuqdishu and Gedo Idp population for the next 100years.

      • Yolo
        Comprehend, comprehend,comprehend dear what moh’d is talking about is Iraqi Kurdistan. Please stop eating hyenas.

  6. Inshaallah They Will get that oil. Right know Somaliland and puntland are the only region that
    CAN truly and efficiently benefits from oil !
    And let’s face it sécessionist or not all somali
    Will benefit from that blessing Mainly because Somaliland and puntland economy can’t absorb
    All of that wealth ! Anyway it’s a good news alhamdulilah

    • aren't 2 million moryaan children starving in mogadisho……?

      What the hell are you doing on the internet, who will feed them if not you.

      waraabe eater