By T. Roble
GOOBJOOG NEWS|MOGADISHU: Opposition presidential candidates in Somalia have revealed what they term as ‘planned secret deal’ by President Mohamed Farmaajo to grant licenses to two American oil companies.
The Council of Presidential Candidates (CPC) warned in a letter dated January 2 and addressed to Farmaajo and PM Mohamed Roble that a secret deal was underway by the Federal Government, which is on its sunset days, to enter into an oil deal.
CPC said the deal ‘poses a great danger to the future, standing and unity of the Somali Nation and its natural resources’.
“The reported secret agreement the ministry is going to sign is against all the laws and regulations on natural resources that have been approved by the Federal Parliament and agreement between the federal government and federal member states,” CPC said.
Though it did not mention the two oil companies, outspoken politician and Wadajir party presidential candidate Abdirahman Abdishakur said they are Coastline Exploration Inc and Liberty Petroleum Corporation. Both companies are based in the US; the former in Houston and the latter in Phoenix.
Coastline Exploration which has been unverifiably claimed to be a reincarnation of the controversial Soma Oil and Gas says on its website it works ‘in partnership with governments across East Africa to help develop their hydrocarbon resources and industries to the benefit of their local economies.’
Liberty which is registered in Phoenix, Arizona indicates on its website that it has operations in North America, the Middle East, South-East Asia and Australia.
The opposition candidates also noted the move by the outgoing administration could derail debt relief efforts and see the country subjected to additional conditions by the IMF and the World Bank.
“We remind you that the debt relief process agreement, the first phase of which has been successfully concluded, contains an important clause preventing the federal government for signing any oil agreement that violates Somali natural resources regulations and international oil exploration procedures.”
Reminding Farmaajo that he has 38 days (as of January 2) before he leaves office, CPC said, “We warn against the signing of a dangerous agreement at this time when the country is in transition.”
According to the International Licensing Round 2020 released by the Ministry of Petroleum last November, bidders are expected to submit their proposal latest March 21, 2021. Selected bidders will be announced April 21 while negotiations on the Production Sharing Agreement will be concluded on May 27.