Norwegian May Become Oil Minister In Somaliland

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Norwegian Ibrahim Mohammed Hassan, who works for Genel Energy, is appointed as new oil minister in the Somaliland Excursion Province. Photo: Linkedin
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Norwegian-speaking Ibrahim Mohammed Hassan, 66, may become oil minister in  Somaliland, according to Nettavisen newspaper.

Hassan came to Norway in the 1970s and is an oil engineer, who’s worked in  London and Stavanger. He has a background in Saga Petroleum and Asante.

Now, he is considered one of two candidates to become Somaliland’s new oil minister.

Somaliland, which is not internationally recognized as an independent state, held its presidential elections in November. Next week, Musa Bihi Abdi will become the new president. Somaliland has, potentially, huge oil and gas reserves. This may mean good news for Norwegian investors.

Somalia Expert Stig Jarle Hansen

‘Of course, I think that there may be additional sympathy for Norwegian investors, and there will be language and communication benefits,’ said Stig Jarle Hansen, Associate Professor in International Relations at the University of Environmental and Life Sciences in Ås.

“But Somaliland has institutions that work to some extent, which means that it will be” check and balance “of a single person’s sympathies. It can be valuable in some areas, but you should not hope too much, “says Hansen.

“Norwegian investors may go in, but they should think carefully about safety aspects and Norway’s general attitude towards Somaliland as an independent state,” he said.

“But it is also possible that oil investors can get a drilling permit from Mogadishu (Somalia’s capital red.anm.), Although the money goes to Somaliland, he adds.

Jobs in Somaliland
Hassan is an oil engineer from London and Stavanger. He has backgrounds from, among other things, Saga Petroleum and Asante. He is married to a Norwegian woman.

Hassan works for the international oil company Genel Energy, and is based in Hargeisa in Somaliland. Genel Energy is heavily in Somaliland , where they have already investigated 2000 kilometers of seismic in two fields where the company is an operator and has ownership interests.

The results have been uplifting and the company has surveyed several areas to be investigated further by the end of 2017 and next year. Genel Energy’s forecasts are no less than two billion barrels of oil.

Several Norwegian investors have already been in Somaliland , who declared independence in 1991 after a bloody civil war.

Even though Somaliland has a relatively good state-of-the-art state of affairs, there is still a lot of policy governed at the client level.

“It is difficult for oil companies to navigate in clan policy. An oil investor entering Somaliland should also have a dialogue with local clans, and not just the authorities, “says Hansen.

Somaliland’s newly elected President Musa Bihi Abdi depicted during the election campaign last month.
Photo: Stringer Reuters

“The President is a former Marxist.
In advance of the elections in November, the great tension was attached to a possible government change in Somaliland. Hansen, however, believes that the new president will be given peace and support to govern the victims provinces.

– The president is former Marxist and was part of the Alanas wing of Somali National Movement in the 1980s. But that’s probably forgotten. The people remember him as an old veteran of the independence warfighting Somalia. He probably does not support the entire population, but those who do not support him are people who accept a consensus solution. So Musa Bihi Abdi has enough consensus that he will be president, says Hansen.

Hansen believes the prospects of being internationally recognized as an independent state are rather gloomy.

“They are weaker now than they have been for a long time. South Africa was an ally as they had before, and Ethiopia is a de facto-allied, but has never pressured for international recognition by Somaliland.

Somaliland enjoys strong ties with neighboring countries of Ethiopia and Djibouti, while experiencing massive investment from the Gulf countries. The authorities in Somaliland have also granted the United Arab Emirates permission to establish a military base in the port of Berbera, reports Reuters .

The breakout province has about four million inhabitants.

Norwegian investors on their way into Somaliland

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