* Plans to drill 2 wells in Somaliland by 2015
* Company is moving forward despite political disputes
* Genel will spend $400 mln to drill 5 wells in Africa
By Kelly Gilblom
NAIROBI, Oct 30 Turkish oil and gas company
Genel Energy Plc plans to conduct seismic work in
northwestern Somalia early next year and drill its first well in
the second quarter of 2014 and another well in 2015, company
The London-listed explorer said in August it had the rights
to two blocks, Block 13 and Block 10B, in the country's
semi-autonomous Somaliland region.
The area shares the same geological structure with oil
producer Yemen and could have 1 billion barrels of oil, the
company said. It plans to spend about $400 million drilling five
wells in Africa overall over the next three years.
"Somaliland provides an exciting geological opportunity, and
we look forward to starting work in the region," said company
spokesperson Andrew Benbow, in an email to Reuters on Tuesday.
East Africa has recently become a major hub of oil and gas
exploration activity, but Somalia has largely missed out due to
violent conflicts that have made the Horn of Africa country
In September, Somalia elected a new federal government, its
first permanent government since 1991.
Somali technocrats have said they now must sort out a tangle
of overlapping oil and gas exploration licences issued over the
past few decades by the former federal government and the
semi-autonomous regions of Puntland and Somaliland.
Genel Energy declined to comment about the political
situation in Somalia but said it planned to move forward with
exploration, despite speculation the new federal government
might upend agreements made after 1991.
The Somaliland licences are Genel's only exploration acreage
in the region, although it has a number of contracts in west and
(Editing by George Obulutsa and Jane Baird)