The UK-headquartered independent’s Drilling plans are now for the back end of next year or early the year after

Exploration of the SL10B13 license in Somaliland targeted for 2023 is at risk of slipping into the following year, the CEO of London-listed operator Genel Energy warns. “This is a frontier exploration in a fairly remote location, and there are a lot of activities to get through before we actually start drilling,” says Paul Weir.

“Drilling is scheduled for the end of 2023 or early in 2024.” But any delay is not dimming Genel’s excitement about the block’s potential. “This is a tremendous opportunity, a highly prospective block with multiple prospects and over 5bn bl of the prospective resource identified already.


“We have agreed on a first well location, which is targeting stacked Mesozoic reservoir objectives with individual prospective resource estimates ranging between 100mn and 200mn bl each,” Weir continues.

The firm holds two licenses in Somaliland֫: SL10B13—in which Genel holds a 51pc operated stake, having farmed out the reminder to Taiwanese NOC CPC in December 2021—and Odewayne—where Genel has 50pc and is operator, UK E&P firm Afentra has 36pc and domestic player Petrosoma has 16pc—but the former is much more at the front of its mind.

“The SL10B13 block is our focus because, following some prolonged and very rigorous scientific study, we consider that block to be the one that holds by far the greatest geological potential,” says Weir. “We have got a drill-ready prospect identified; we have got a surface location identified. We have elected to simply go for the most exciting opportunity. The seismic on Odewayne was not nearly as compelling.”

Paul Weir
Paul Weir

Genel sees securing CPC as a farm-in partner as a validation of its strategy. “It is an important demonstration how we think about capex risk,” says the firm’s CFO, Luke Clements. “We have sat on that Somaliland prospect for a long time, been excited about it for a long time and we have wanted to explore it for a long time.

“We did not want to do it with 100pc equity on it, so we waited. The commercial and asset team has done a great job to bring in a partner, and we are delighted to have a very good partner [which is] sharing the journey with us. It is an example of our business model in action and our patience,” Clements continues.

Somaliland is a de facto sovereign state in the Horn of Africa on the southern coast of the Gulf of Aden. It is bordered by Djibouti to the northwest, Ethiopia to the south and west, and the rest of Somalia to the east.

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