By Goth Mohamed Goth
A well-attended ceremony was held today for the opening of the new Ultra-Modern Ministry of Energy and Minerals Resource’s headquarters.
The new ultra-modern Ministry of Energy and Minerals Resources premises is distinct from other newly constructed ministries in many ways , fully equipped offices , a new state of the art mining laboratory, Museum showcasing all minerals found in the country, well-tended gardens .
Hon Hussein Abdi Dualeh , the Minister of Energy speaking during the Grand opening of the new premises said, After many considerations and the location being adjacent to the Presidential palace , we decided the moment has come for the Ministry of Energy and Minerals Resources to finally get a new Headquarters, all this comes after a long wait combined by hard work and much persuasion which we finally succeeded in convincing the multinational companies to assist in contributing the funds for the construction of the new ministry headquarters.
“Due to budgetary limits not to mention other ministries had submitted their applications for funds for the construction of new ministerial headquarters in the pipeline waiting to be processed and also considering the fact the former premises was constructed at a time when we were still a British colony and the hazard posed occupying that what prompted us to find other sources of funds hence the decision to appeal to multi nationals to assist us in this endeavors and being our partners they wholeheartedly agreed to support us by contributing the funds, on the terms that they shall directly fund the construction.
The funds were provided by oil exploration companies namely RAKGAS , DNO, JACKA RESOURCES,GENEL ,STERLING RESOUCRES, and two new other all have entered oil exploration and extraction contracts with Somaliland.
“The Renewal energy policy adopted the current government led by H.E President Ahmed Mohamed Mahmoud Silanyo will immensely contribute to the development of the Somaliland energy sector, in addition to contributing significantly to the Government’s goal of lighting up rural and peri-urban areas of the Country, said the Somaliland Minister of Energy and Minerals Hussein Abdi Dualeh.
Deployment of renewable energies will contribute to a cleaner energy sector. Achieving this goal will help the Somalis to move along a low carbon development pathway contributing to climate change objectives, increased energy security, more economic opportunities and better access to energy services. This goal will be achieved through the development of solar photovoltaic markets and solar powered systems for irrigation, health and educational facilities and community electrification schemes, but also through promotion of efficient cook stoves and support for youth led renewable energy enterprises.
The New Ministry Energy & Minerals Resources premises will be powered by solar panels and the surplus energy generated by the Ministry grid will be shared with the Presidential palace, a similar project implemented by the Energy Ministry is the 500watts solar power project which upon its completion will be able to provide all the energy needs of the Ministry of Information and national guidance and also save the bills incurred from energy suppliers.
The Ministry of Energy & Minerals has been working for over a year in developing a new upstream petroleum regulatory framework drafted with the help of a world class Norwegian law firm.
Before we get anything out of the ground in Somaliland, we want to emulate the successes of countries that managed their resources well and avoid the mistakes that others have made in exploiting their resources. That is why we hired a Norwegian law firm to draft our Petroleum legal framework to set a sound foundation to our resource management practices. We want to chart the path of implementing best practices.
More often the not, countries that exploited their natural resources have seen their economies grow, new modern infrastructure built and poverty alleviated. We want to chart the path of prudent management of our natural resources to bring about a positive impact on the lives of our people and our economy.
We don’t feel that oil exploitation will bring about conflict in the region, but believe the opposite. It will bring about more stability to Somaliland by growing the economy and alleviating poverty.
The bills were then sent to the full Council of Ministers for debate and approval since been forwarded to the legislature to make it into law. The package consists of a Petroleum Policy, an Upstream Petroleum Bill and a Petroleum Revenue Bill.
Revenue Generated by the Ministry to the Treasury in past 5 years:-
- The Ministry under the previous government during its 8 years tenure: $185,000
- This government during past 5 years: $5M
The previous government signed much more PSAs and mineral permits than we did. Yet we generated 24 times as much revenue for the Treasury than they did.
The Ministry of Energy and Minerals will embark on a public awareness campaign on the need to develop our non-renewable natural resources are an important issue for every country. Countries strive to get the most value for these resources and to exchange the right to develop them for meaningful contributions for the nation and its people. We have done the same here.
In Somaliland, it is difficult to estimate the chances of success because we are just developing a modern hydrocarbon industry and there is no scientific data to help us predict the existence and location of commercial quantities of hydrocarbons.
This Ministry has achieved in 5 years what was not achieved in the 19 years prior since Somaliland gained its independence.
- We have put Somaliland on the map as an extractive industry destination
- We have taken Somaliland’s name to international oil & gas and mining arenas that it has never been to before
- Despite our lack of recognition, we were able to attract four (4) international oil & gas companies some of which are publicly traded companies to operate in Somaliland. The seismic exploration work is now pending the establishment of an OPU to provide security to these operations. Hopefully, we and our partners plan to start the seismic exploration by the end of the 2016.
- We are well on our way to begin our first commercial mining operation in Somaliland’s history.
- And we have set the stage for Somaliland to make an oil discovery in the coming few years.
- Attracting mining companies to invest in green fields is tough in the best of times. In recent years, the world commodity prices were declining or remained flat.
- I attended international mining conferences such African Mining Indaba and Africa Downunder in Australia, Europe and other parts of the world in a bid to woo mining companies to come to SL
- We have had limited success so far because of the political and legal risk envisioned by international mining companies in investing in an un-recognized country that is located in a tough neighborhood.
- Issued prospective licenses to several small or start-up companies who have been actively exploring.
- One license has proven a resource that can be commercially exploited and some others are hopeful to do so.
- Like we did with the petroleum sector, we have developed a new mining code as well, which went thru the same process as the new petroleum legal framework package. It was sent to the Council of Ministers and from there to the Legislature to have a new mining code for Somaliland as well.
For Instance, ARC, Chinese mining company is currently involved in mining activities in Simoodi range in Awadl, This project will be the first of it’s kind and will contribute Somaliland bid to became a minerals producing country.
Already, residents in those areas have benefitted from mining project, this is evident in the ongoing development projects such as the building of new schools , health centers , employment and the overall improved infrastructure, such as the construction of a new 50KM tarmac road.