Somaliland – a country in the horn of Africa – has become a hotspot in oil and gas exploration activities in East Africa. Somaliland’s exciting geological and geopolitical significance has led international oil and gas companies to snap up onshore and offshore exploration licenses making it the new frontier in oil and gas exploration in the region.

TGS–NOPEC Geophysical Company has been at the forefront of oil and gas exploration activities, from the offshore acquisition of, approximately, 5,100 km of 2-D seismic, gravity, and magnetic data, to the onshore acquisition of 34,000 kilometers of high-resolution aeromagnetic data covering all Somaliland’s oil basins. The processing and the interpretation of TGS data has been completed which provided the structural elements of the area and will cause the subsequent development of leads and plays.

Oil And Gas ExplorationFigure 1TGS 2D and Aeromagnetic surveys


In addition, Genel Energy plc, an oil and gas company headquartered in Jersey and listed in London, has played a pivotal role in Somaliland’s hunt for hydrocarbons. Gravity and aeromagnetic data have been conducted over the entire basins. Extensive oil seepage analysis was completed in 2015 both in Odweyne, SL-10B and SL-13 blocks followed by the acquisition of 3150 kilometers of 2-D seismic data. The acquisition of the data ended in January 2018. The good results given by a thick Mesozoic rift basin has resulted in the targeted infill 2-D seismic acquisition on the SL-10B/13 block. Data processing and interpretation is currently underway.

Oil And Gas Exploration

Figure 2Genel Energy blocks

DNO ASA, a Norwegian oil and gas operator, has also been a key player in Somaliland’s oil and gas exploration. DNO has successfully acquired gravity and aeromagnetic data on the SL-18 block. Oil seepage analysis was also conducted in the area.

Rak Gas, a state-owned energy company in the northern emirate of Ras Al Kamiah, has completed 17, 000  line kilometers of FTG in blocks SL-9 and SL-12. This sophisticated technology gives better resolution than traditional gravity and magnetic methods. The FTG survey has been acquired in a timeframe of six weeks starting from 27th of October 2017. Rak Gas has carried out approximately 800 kilometers of 2-D seismic survey in SL-9 block. Data processing has already commenced.

By Ahmed Tahir

Geoscientist at Ministry of Energy and Minerals (MOEM) – Hargeisa

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