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Oil exploration within Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region, Somalia

Oil exploration fuels ethnic and religious conflicts in the semi-autonomous Puntland region in Somalia.


The Canadian Africa Oil Corporation holds 45 % equity interest in Horn Petroleum Corporation, which is holding interests in two blocks in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland. The blocks are the Dharoor Valley and the Nugaal Valley exploration area and combine to an area of 3,616,800 hectares within Puntland, Somalia.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Oil exploration within Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region, Somalia
State or province:Puntland
Location of conflict:Puntland
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Specific commodities:Crude oil
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Within the Dharoor Valley and Nugaal Valley exploration areas, three wells were drilled. Daily production rates are of over 400,000 barrels of oil. Africa Oil Corp. estimated local resources at nearly 300 million barrels.

Project area:3,616,800 hectares
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:Potentially 3,900,000.
Start of the conflict:01/01/2006
Company names or state enterprises:Africa Oil Corp from Canada
ION Geophysical Corporation from United States of America
Africa Energy from Canada
Relevant government actors:Puntland Petroleum Minerals Agency (PPMA)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Somali Golaha Samatabixinta Puntland (GSP), or Puntland Rescue Committee
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local government/political parties
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Forms of mobilization:Referendum other local consultations
Street protest/marches
Property damage/arson
Threats to use arms
Development of a local political group
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil contamination, Oil spills, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Health ImpactsVisible: Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..), Deaths
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Violations of human rights
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Project temporarily suspended
Ethnic / Clan and religious related armed conflict
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Although the drilling activities have been stopped, this may not be considered an Environmental Justice success as now ethnic and clan-related conflict have stirred up again and number of violent acts committed by different militias has risen. The political situation remains very unstable.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Africa Oil Corp., News Release 12 February 2015, Vancouver, BC,
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

International Crisis Group (2013), Policy Briefing, Somalia:Puntland's Punted Polls, Africa Briefing N°97, 19 December 2013,
[click to view]

Puntland, Somalia, Africa Oil Group Homepage,
[click to view]

Canada's Africa Oil Corp. Equipment under attack in Somalia, Garowe Online, The Somaliland Times, 25 May 2008,
[click to view]

Opposition Brewing to Puntland Oil Drilling, by Mohamed Beerdhige, Somalia Report, 24 January 2012,
[click to view]

Local Elders Upset Over Puntland Oil Drilling, Somalia Report, 7 February 2012,
[click to view]

Rebel, army clashes kill nine in Somalia's Puntland, Khaleej Times, 3 March 2012,
[click to view]

300 Million Barrels of Oil Expected in Puntland, by MJ, Shiine Omar, Somalia Report, 17 January 2012,
[click to view]

Canada's Africa Oil starts Somalia seismic survey, by Abdiqani Hassan, 21 May 2008, Reuters,
[click to view]

Puntland seeks resources as Somali militants enter its territory
[click to view]

Oil discovery in two Somalia areas may fuel violence, says UN
[click to view]

Africa Energy drops out of Puntland due to political strife
[click to view]

ION awarded contract to conduct 2D seismic survey of Somalia Puntland offshore margin
[click to view]

Meta information
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:1912
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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