Off­shore oil mixed bless­ing for So­ma­lia

The Star (Kenya) - - News World -

So­ma­lia looks more likely to strike oil than gas in its long pur­suit of off­shore riches, mak­ing it eas­ier for the African state to ex­ploit any wind­fall but also po­ten­tially up­set­ting the frag­ile re­cov­ery led by its West­ern-backed govern­ment.

The wa­ters off So­ma­lia, best known for years of piracy, may har­bour hy­dro­car­bons at a depth where crude is usu­ally found, seis­mic ser­vices com­pany Spec­trum said last week its re­search showed. This is un­like the seas fur­ther south along the African coast­line where gas is abun­dant.

That would be good news for So­ma­lia, which would likely find pump­ing out oil onto tankers eas­ier than se­cur­ing the multi-bil­lion dol­lar in­vest­ment needed to liq­uefy gas for ex­port.

Oil rev­enues could trans­form So­ma­lia’s econ­omy, where many peo­ple rely on sub­sis­tence live­stock farm­ing.

How­ever, it could prove a chal­lenge for a govern­ment try­ing to re­build a na­tion bat­tered by clan ri­val­ries and Is­lamist in­sur­gents af­ter it de­scended into war in 1991. Some fear oil rigs could also be­come a new tar­get for pi­rates, who were the scourge of com­mer­cial ship­ping on nearby trade routes.

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