Genel Pulls Out Somaliland Staff


Move Follows Twin Bombings in the Somalia Capital, Mogadishu

By Justin Scheck, Alexis Flynn

ANKARA — Anglo-Turkish oil company Genel Energy PLC has started pulling its employees out of northern Somalia following a sudden spike in violence in the volatile Horn of Africa nation, the company said Monday.

“In the face of a deteriorating security situation we are temporarily suspending our seismic operations,” said a Genel spokesman.

Somaliland authorities weren’t immediately available for comment.

Genel’s decision to halt its early-stage oil exploration campaign in Somaliland, a breakaway northern region noted for its relative stability, comes in the wake of a twin bombing Saturday in Mogadishu that killed 20 people.

A car bomb and a suicide attacker struck a restaurant in Somalia’s capital in the worst violence since an assault on a United Nations compound in June. The Somali militant group al-Shabaab, which has struck Mogadishu multiple times in recent months, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Helmed by former BP PLC Chief Executive Tony Hayward, London-listed Genel began prospecting for oil in Somaliland after acquiring a set of licenses in the area last year.

It doesn’t produce any crude oil in Somaliland, whose decision to grant exploration rights to companies like Genel has incurred the wrath of Somalia’s recently elected central government.

Mogadishu maintains that any licensing of oil exploration is the sole responsibility of the federal government. However, Somaliland — which built up a degree of autonomy during two decades of civil war — says that it has the right to attract investment in the areas that it controls.

source Wall Street Journal – ‎