Oil giant British Petroleum has signed concessions with the Mogadishu authorities to explore oil and gas in Somalia.

An intelligence brief released on Monday indicated that Somalia's coastal waters in the Indian Ocean could be having some of the world’s largest oil deposits.

The statement issued by Mr David Golman, an intelligence news analyst, pointed to reports showing existence of large oil deposits in Somalia, which could change the global market dynamics.

“Intelligence collected by Strategic Intelligence shows Somalia's Puntland province has 10 billion barrels of oil reserves, making it one of the top 20 countries holding oil,” it added.

Further, the brief says that a company that drilled wells in Puntland (a semi-autonomous state in north-eastern Somalia) estimates 4 billion barrels - worth about $500 billion in today’s prices - in its two discoveries in Somalia.

If drilled, it added, Somali oil would beat countries like Nigeria and Kuwait, to make the Horn of Africa state the 7th largest producer in the world.

On Saturday, Dr Hussein Ali Ahmed, the Managing Director of the Somali Petroleum Corporation, told the media that Britain would send ships to explore oil in the Somali waters in the Indian Ocean

Rebel groups

“Somalia is one of the countries in Africa’s eastern region with large, untapped oil deposits,” said the oil agency director.

He expressed optimism that the exploration ships from Britain would arrive in Somalia soon.

Dr Ahmed told the Africa Review that high-powered fuel companies such as Conoco, Shell and Total, had approached Mogadishu for the renewal of oil exploration operations.

“Many entities were engaged in the exploration of oil in Somalia, but abandoned the work due to the collapse of the central government, and following pressure from rebel groups in 1991,” remarked Dr Ahmed.

In October 2013, the Somali Government approved a deal with the UK-based firm Soma Oil and Gas Exploration to exploit mineral resources on its vast coastline.

As per a press release, the British company will explore marine and land areas, reaching up to 60,000 square kilometres.

Mr Michael Howard, a former UK Home Secretary, signed the accord in Mogadishu as non-executive chairman of Soma Oil and Gas Exploration.

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