Exxon Mobil and Shell return to Somalia

Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil, two heavyweight giants in the Petroleum Industry are planning to return to Somalia ahead of an oil block bid round later this year, according to the East African country’s oil ministry.

Shell and Exxon Mobil had a joint venture on five offshore blocks in Somalia during the 1980s but were forced to suspend exploration activities in 1990 as a result of civil-strife and the blocks came under what is known as “force majeure”.

A new agreement was signed in the Hague that will bring the old contracts in line with the new Petroleum Bill that was recently passed by the Somali Parliament.

The country hopes to allocate a total of 15 offshore blocks with a potential bid date scheduled for November. A road show is currently being organized in Houston, Texas in late September or early October.

With its increasing stability and institutional capacity, Somalia aims to become a oil-superpower in the near future.

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