International law firm Stephenson Harwood LLP has advised Soma Oil & Gas (Soma) on its agreement, signed with the Government of the Federal Republic of Somalia on 6th August 2013, to assist in the development of the country’s hydrocarbons sector.
Under the terms of the agreement, Soma will conduct seismic surveying in Somalia’s territorial waters in areas agreed with the Government and in certain limited onshore areas. Soma will also collate and reprocess historic seismic data using modern techniques, and prepare an evaluation of Somalia’s petroleum potential. A data room for the Somali Government will also be created, into which all available data will be placed. The survey that Soma conducts will give it the right to nominate and obtain exploration and drilling rights under Production Sharing Agreements for prospective areas.
This agreement is the first in Somalia’s oil and gas industry since the election of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and the appointment of an internationally recognized Government in 2012 following decades of civil war. According to oil industry experts Somalia has some of the largest prospective resources within East Africa, an area of already great industry interest.
Commenting on the agreement, Jeremy Sheldon, energy partner at Stephenson Harwood, said: "We are delighted to have advised Soma on this important and strategic agreement which will help facilitate the development of the energy industry in Somalia. Soma was founded earlier this year especially to explore the energy potential in Somalia and this agreement is a significant step towards this."
The Stephenson Harwood team was led by Tony Edwards.