Hargeisa (HOL) – The Somaliland government announced on Sunday the start of drilling for its first oil well, Toosan 1, in the Togdheer region. This development comes nearly six months after the Somalia government denied exploitation rights in Somaliland, Somalia’s northern breakaway region.
Somaliland’s Minister of Energy and Minerals, Abdillahi Farah Abdi, spoke at an inauguration ceremony for the well drilling led by Genel Energy in Hargeisa. Abdi stated that drilling marks the final stage in oil exploration, and Toosan 1 is located in the vast Hood gas field within the Togdheer region.
Although Abdi acknowledged oil extraction’s uncertainty, he expressed optimism about its potential. He highlighted that the drilling operation would begin with up to 16 suspected oil fields, and Toosan 1 is the largest oil well discovered thus far.
Despite declaring independence from Somalia in 1991, Somaliland has yet to receive international recognition. The self-proclaimed independent government plans to conduct public awareness events on fuel and its operation, with the largest event scheduled in Burco.
In December 2022, Somalia dismissed Genel Energy’s “illegal claim” to oil exploration and exploitation rights in Somaliland. The Somali oil ministry released a statement rejecting Genel Energy’s claim to petroleum rights in Somalia’s northern regions and urging the company to abandon its unlawful assertions.
The oil ministry stressed that it is the only institution legally authorized to issue permits in Somalia. Genel Energy, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange, added Somaliland to its exploration portfolio in 2012 and signed a farm-out agreement with OPIC Somaliland Corporation for a block on the Ethiopian border in 2022, according to the company’s website.