Geopolitik Energi

April 25, 2007

OIL HOPES HINGE ON NORTH SOMALIA

Coming back

The government reserves for itself an area around the Calub gasfield - discovered by Tenneco in 1974 and where reserves are thought to be about one trillion cubic feet - continuing appraisal work with Soviet help. Vancouver-based International Petroleum acquired the 34 000 square km Danakil Block along the Eritrean coast, farming out 60% and the operatorship to Amoco. Offshore, British Petroleum holds one area of 31 000 square km and was on the point of acquiring another block further north when the fighting escalated. All work halted as the war spread on land and BP declared force majeure last summer, when one of its seismic boats was fired on by rebels from the Eritrean Peoples' Liberation Front (EPLF).

The exact legal status of contracts signed with the defunct Mengistu government is unclear. This problem is further exacerbated by an emerging statist policy on the part of the various Ethiopian and Eritrean groups. Most pundits predict that after the Eritrean referendum in two years' time, a loose Ethiopian confederation will emerge, allowing the Addis Ababa government continued access to the Red Sea ports of Asab and Massawa.

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