Somalia’s petroleum summit in London draws criticism, suspicion and protests

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Hundreds of angry protestors stage here in London outside Claridge’s Hotel on Thursday morning where a petroleum summit aimed to auction oil and gas blocks, was taking place, an act which the Somalia’s upper house called it “illegal.

The protestors have been gathering in London for the past couple of days, some of them traveling from other European countries only to participate the demonstration. Some of the protestors were holding up posters written on it, “NO to Auctioning,” another poster read ” country first, greed later, Farmajo and Khaire”, while yelling “Shame on you! shame on you!” only to show their anger on the on the planned biding of license.

“A country with no petroleum and resource sharing regulations can not start bid to auction its oil and gas” Osman Xooshey, one of the organizers said, “We will die for the defense our country and people”

The summit, which was hosted by Spectrum, aims to launch the first round of biding offshore acreages for 206 blocks, According to Somali government, the conference is intended for the inaugural for the first offshore hydrocarbon licensing round.

‘Seventh of February, Somalia is gona be holding the first of its kind of bid rounds or licence rounds of multiple acreages” Karar Shukri Doomey, the director-general of the ministry said in an interview as cited CNBC Africa, “Our potential partners will speak to our partners.”

“Spectrum is the size company that has our data; of total of 206 blocks offshore of the federal republic of Somalia, but will be auctioning some of the prospective blocks in the southern part of Somalia”Mr. Doomey added.

Regulation

Somalia’s Upper house of the parliament said that the auctioning of Somalia petroleum resources and the proposed bid rounds in London on February 7.2019 are illegal and unconstitutional, while accusing the petroleum ministry of attempting to illegally auction off the country’s oil blocks.

“According to article 44 of of the constitution clarifies the resource sharing mechanism, which is currently incomplete, despite disagreements between the federal government and the federal member states.” statement from Somalia’s upper house said. “The parliament has not yet passed petrolium to allow for the sale of any oil blocks.

The government has also been criticized in making oil and gas deals in the absence of Somali Procurement Agency, Internal oil regulations, income tax act, Land act, Environmental Management act, Resource sharing agreement, Revenue sharing agreement and Petrol Bill

Corruption

The lack of transparency by the ministry of petroleum and alleged companies who explored Somalia’s seismic data further casts suspicion as Somalia was named as the most corrupt countries in the world by Transparency international.

According to Spectrum’s website, Somali Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Abdirashid Mohamed Ahmed— whose accommodation expenses in London and airfares from Somalia were covered by Spectrum, will unveil the final block delineation, expected to consist of up to 50 blocks covering a total area of over 173,000 km2.

Prioritize security

Locals blame that Mogadishu Government was not prioritizing internal security as militant groups continue to carry deadly attacks in the capital.

Meanwhile three strong political parties, the Union for Peace and Democracy, Somali National Vision and Wadajir have called to cease of the oil licensing round on the rounds of lack of regulations to govern such licensing schemes.

Protesters warned that monies raised from undisclosed deals such as this oil conference could prevail corruption in Somalia where the system of check and balance is threatened within the government.

Somalia plunged into anarchy and conflict in 1992 following the collapse of the former dictator regime. The country lacks petroleum laws and necessary regulations for the oil exploration licenses.

Somalia was recently declared the most corrupt country in the world by Transparency International, the international campaign group.

By: Ahmed Hassan Suudi in London. Horn Globe News contributed reporting

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