EXCLUSIVE: Somalia distances itself from Nairobi Oil Summit but affirms earlier nod

The Ministry of Petroleum said Monday it neither endorsed nor was it party to discussions regarding the March oil Summit in Nairobi. But the Prime Minister’s office affirmed an earlier letter endorsing the Summit. Photo: Offshore Ennergy Today

Somali Government has unequivocally distanced itself from a much publicized international oil and gas summit which the organisers indicated would be opened by Prime Minister Hassan Khaire noting it is in no way party to the summit scheduled for next March in Nairobi.

But in the same breath, the Government is also affirming it endorsed the Summit in September.

In a letter dated November 6, 2017 seen by Goobjoog News, addressed to International Research Networks, the organisers of the event, Petroleum and Mineral Resources Minister Abdirashid Mohamed Ahmed said he was surprised to learn that Somali Government had been mentioned as having endorsed the Summit.

“It has surprisingly come to my attention International Research Network is organizing a summit in Nairobi called Somalia Oil, Gas and Mining Summit, in March 2018,” said Ahmed in the letter addressed to Ben Hillary the chairman of IRN. “Regrettably, I am writing to clearly inform you that the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources has neither endorsed not has been involved in any discussion of the stated Summit.”

Letter dated Nov 6, 2017 addressed to IRN in which Petroleum Minister protest and distances government from the summit.

The Petroleum Minister said his ministry had neither endorsed not been involved in any discussions about the Summit noting any such events are exclusively initiated by Somali government. “It is important to be noted that any global summit or event related to the Somali Petroleum and Mineral sector will utterly be initiated and endorsed by the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources of the Federal Government of Somalia.”

READ ALSO: PM Khaire to open Summit on Somalia Oil and Gas in Kenya

But a letter dated September 9, 2017 signed by the State Minister, Office of the Prime Minister Abdullahi Hamud Mohamed addressed to the same Mr. Hillary of IRN affirms the government’s approval and endorsement of the summit.

“On behalf of the Federal Republic of Somalia, we are pleased to inform you of our approval to participate in the upcoming Somalia Oil, Gas and Mining Summit 2018 taking place in Nairobi; March 2018,” the letter attached to the pamphlet by IRN reads.

“I am pleased that my office and the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources are happy to endorse and support the Summit, taking place under the organisation of International Research Networks Ltd. We will be working closely with IRN to develop an excellent high level forum to ensure fruitful participation for all the delegations and speakers,” the letter signed by Mohamed read in part.


Two senior government officials whom Goobjoog News spoke to confirmed the endorsement letter cited by IRN was genuine but that there was no consultations between the offices of the PM and the Petroleum Ministry.

This letter dated Sept 9, 2017 from the Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister Abdullahi Hamud Mohamed endorses the oil summit.

The sources also noted the UK oil explorer Soma Oil and Gas in which Prime Minister Khaire was once an executive and shareholder was not involved in the Summit. PM Khaire resigned from Soma Oil upon appointment in February and subsequently relinquished his shareholding.


IRN which is selling the Summit as aimed at ‘unlocking Somalia’s hydrocarbon industry potential and tapping in to a rich, virgin and diversified market’ said Somalia’s Prime Minister will open the Summit March 19, 2018 in Nairobi.

“The country’s Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khayre will open a 2-day conference that will serve as a platform where leading multinationals within the extractives and hydrocarbon sectors along with key investors and government dignitaries will be able to discuss a wide range of investment opportunities and ultimately, forge long term partnerships for the exploration and production of natural resources,” IRN says in a website exclusively designed for the Summit.

Petroleum Minister told IRN the announcement had caused jitters among prospecting oil companies and stakeholders. “As a result, your announcement has created confusion and bewilderment between the Ministry and the oil companies who have been enquiring about the summit.”

“Therefore, I strongly urge International Research Networks and its organisers to officially withdraw the announcement of the summit with immediate effect,” the minister said.





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