Puntland rejects extension of timelines for hydrocarbon licensing
MOGADISHU, Somalia - The regional government of Puntland has categorically rejected an extension of timelines for licensing of hydrocarbons, which was issued by the Somali Petroleum Authority [SPA] which is domiciled in Mogadishu.
In the past two years, the quest for control of mineral resources has intensified in Somalia, with both the federal government and the member states accusing each other of "mind games" as Somalia's quest to exploit oil potential drags on.
The notice to extend the date of the submissions was issued by SPA on June 29, 2021, but the federal states were not notified in advance. Federal member states have previously accused the FGS of a plot to control mineral resources contrary to the country's constitution.
In a statement signed by Puntland's Minister for Energy and Mineral Resources Ahmed Mohamed, the northern state raised a number of issues which it demanded that they are expeditiously addressed for the sake of tranquility.
"In the Somali Petroleum Authority, the Puntland Government has no official representative [SPA]. We have never supported the establishment of this contentious authority/ Agency," the protest statement read.
"The Puntland Government does not recognize all SPA agreements and notices. The FGS has lost its constitutional validity and legitimacy in Feb. 2021 As a result, the current Caretaker Federal Government lacks the legal authority to sign any sort of international agreements," it further read.
The Puntland government now advises Petroleum Companies interested in the Somalia Hydrocarbon License that they must wait until a new President has been elected and a genuine national government has been established before applying for the license.
The next elected government, the statement added, will have the right and power, according to the national constitution, to write a consensual agreement on national resource management, development, and sharing procedures, which will be ratified by all Federal Member States.
Somalia is set to go for elections from July 25 and the presidential elections are scheduled for October 10. Current President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo whose term expired in February is seeking to defend his seat and in the process, he's been accused of cutting oil deals to finance his campaigns.
It's not just Puntland that has raised issues about sharing of mineral resources between FGS and FMS. The Jubaland state has often accused Mogadishu of cutting deals at the expense of federal states.