Has Somaliland Struck it Rich in New Surface Oil Discovery?

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Drilling for water in the Sallahley area outside the capital of the Republic of Somaliland, rig hits a near-surface oil vein

At a place water was more precious than any amount of oil or mineral ores, a rig drilling for water struck a vein of another kind at around 340 meters with hoses poured out a dark, oozy substance that was nothing like the water that eager area inhabitants were waiting for.

Bahadhamal village is just 8 kilometres outside Sallahley, a town roughly 70 kilometres south of the capital of the de facto republic of Somaliland.

Containers readied for water had to do with hosting of another kind.

Minister of Energy and Minerals, Abdullahi Farah Abdi, however, fell short of authoritatively confirming that what was found at the site was indeed oil as bandied.

The Minister said the discovery was made some three weeks ago and the substance that was brought to the surface by the drilling rig was not reported immediately to the ministry.

Instead, the drillers continued poring downwards passing what is now to be believed to have been a small, stray vein probably leading to a major oil deposit.

“Sand, silt, and more debris accumulated above the original amount that poured out and our lab technicians and experts had to dig through to reach the original traces,” Minister Abdullahi told reporters Thursday.

” The samples taken indicate three strong traces pointing to an oil strike,” he said, “were found: dark colour, pungent oily smell, and lube – the greasy nature of the substance”.

The Minister added that the discovery is another testimony to rich oil and mineral deposits that still lie untapped underneath.

If the supposition materializes, the Genel-Somaliland partnership strikes it rich.

“Somaliland is a highly prospective and largely unexplored region, with a compelling technical case for the drilling of a well,” Genel technical director Mike Adams said in an earlier statement. “Oil seeps confirm a working petroleum system and one prospect alone could target over half a billion barrels across multiple stacked reservoirs.”

The new discovery lies within an oil interest area Genel Energy designates as the Odwayne block.

In August 2012, Genel was awarded an exploration licence for onshore blocks SL-10-B and SL-13 in Somaliland. Genel extended its presence in November 2012 with the acquisition of 50% participating interest in the Odwayne Production Sharing Agreement which covers blocks SL-6, SL-7, SL-10A.

In December 2021, CPC Corp of Taiwan signed an agreement with Genel Energy PLC to secure 49 per cent working interest of the SL10B13 block in Somaliland.

OPIC Somaliland Corp (OSC) would explore the oilfield and all of OPIC’s capital investment would come from CPC, the Taiwanese firm said.

The block has a lot of potential, as it has multiple stacked prospects with more than 5 billion barrels of prospective resources identified in a 2D seismic data acquisition that was completed in January 2018, Genel said in a statement.

The field partners would work together to plan exploration drilling, with an aim to drill a well in 2023, the statement said.

Preparations were now underway for the drilling of a well on the highly prospective SL10B13 block. Where may have been determined by the accidental discovery of the Bahodhamal strike.

A well can be drilled for an estimated gross cost of about US$40 million, according to Taipei Times.

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