Thursday, 18 April 2013

Somalia: High hopes to generate revenues from hydrocarbons: At the moment, Somalia intends to move forward and give hope to its citizens. In order to do that, it must earn revenue to provide the basics: build sustainable peace, improve security for everyone in Somalia and provide public services: education, health, sanitation, access to clean water and build infrastructure. Resources that can generate revenue include the development of livestock, fishery, agricultural products, minerals, oil and gas in addition to collecting taxes from property, income, payroll or workforce, corporate, capital gains, wealth, goods and services (value added tax [VAT]) and many other types of taxes. Somalia has high hopes in gaining revenue from oil and gas, currently hidden in the underground of Somalia (onshore) and below the Indian Ocean-floor (the offshore). More than two decades ago (in the eighties), there was an “oil and gas exploration rush” to Somalia, driven by the country’s huge oil and gas potential. The rush was led by Conoco-Phillips, Shell (Pectin), Amoco, Eni, Total and Texaco, who left the country in “force majeure” waiting to come back at the right time, security wise. In a recent meeting, the Minister of Resources said, “Given that the security condition of the country is improving at a rapid speed and the presence of legitimate transparent government, companies of the past and the new ones are all welcome. Somalia will be open for business sometime in 2013 and we honour the agreements of the companies who filed “force majeure” and left the country due to the civil war. We are now working to review the Petroleum Law and make it more competitive and attractive to oil companies and investors”. Somalia is aware of the recent discoveries in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Mozambique and it is determined to join the race for oil and gas production. In addition to the “giant” oil companies, currently there are small companies who are aggressive risk-takers who want to start and get hold of their share before the giants come to play. The “giant oil companies” seem to be reluctant and shuffling their feet at the moment. In getting ready for business, Somalia needs to carry out institution building: establish the Somali Petroleum Authority (SPA) in accordance to Article 8 of the Petroleum Law of Somalia. SPA is the competent authority that regulates petroleum operations in Somalia by ensuring that all activities from exploration, production and marketing adhere to the requirements of the Petroleum Law. Somali Petroleum Corporation (SPC) exists already but it may need re-structuring so that it meets the high expectations of the current government. Exploration activities in East Africa and Offshore Indian Ocean: In the surrounding countries of Kenya, and Uganda petroleum was discovered by small and medium companies. An example is the recent discoveries of Tullow Oil Plc. in Uganda and Kenya. Recently, Kenya has awarded licences to companies capable of working in deep-sea offshore blocks though that had triggered anger from the Somali side. Shell, Anadarko and Eni are not only the major Western oil and gas companies operating in East Africa offshore. For example, UK gas major BG Group is active in Kenya and Tanzania. BG Group entered Kenya in 2011, acquiring an interest in two offshore exploration blocks: L10A and L10B in the south of the Lamu Embayment. In Ethiopia, Africa Oil Corp has completed farm-out agreement with New Age (African Global Energy Ltd) whereby New Age acquired an additional 25% interest in Africa’s Oil Blocks 7 and 8 in the Somali State of Ethiopia. Africa Oil Corp and Tullow Oil Plc. work together in South Omo concession. The New Scramble for Deep-sea Offshore Indian Ocean: Elsewhere in offshore Indian Ocean margin, in Mozambique US-based Anadarko Petroleum and the Italian oil and gas-company, Eni have both recently announced significant gas discoveries (giant gas fields) in their respective blocks in the Rovuma Delta. In Rovuma, Tanzania another gas discovery was announced by Tanzania’s Petroleum Development Corporation. The recent natural gas discoveries off the coast of Mozambique in the Indian Ocean are important because of the size of the reserves as well as the country’s relative proximity to markets in Asia. During the writing of this article, Statoil announced its third gas discovery in offshore Tanzania. The bulk of the Indian Ocean margin lies within Somalia and whatever discovery happens there in the Indian Ocean alerts the ears of the Somalia’s Ministry of Resources. That is why Somalia aggressively wants to join the race for oil and gas discoveries of East and Horn of Africa. Now the name of the game in East Africa offshore is gas. Due to its geographic location, Somalia should look for markets and investors from the East. Countries such as Japan, India and China will be eager to consume Somalia’s oil and gas. Historical background and starting afresh: Somalia’s oil and gas potential was the driving force that has attracted oil exploration companies to hunt for oil and gas. About 60 years ago (in early 1950s) Agip (Italian) and Sinclair Oil Corporation (American) began to study the petroleum geology of Somalia and ever since companies flocked to Somalia whenever it was possible. Sinclair Oil Corporation drilled in the south more than 50 wells (some for stratigraphic and some for oil production purposes) worked from the mid-fifties to mid-sixties without a commercial oil discovery and Eni (previously known as Agip) worked from the fifties to the eighties and abandoned Block 31 (Puntland) in force majeure. Recently, during a visit to the well sites of Hobyo-1 and Gira-1 in Hobyo and Wisil respectively in Galmudug State of Somalia, it was not easy for me to understand why no exploration have not taken place in this area after October 1956. The top plug of the well has an inscription that says: “Obbia-1, October 1956.” From 1960 to 1969 oil companies were slowly coming in to explore for oil and gas. However, on the 21st October 1969 a military regime came to power and announced Scientific Socialism as its ideology, joining Somalia to the Soviet Block during the Cold War. Thus Somalia became un-accessible until 1977 when Somalia invaded Ethiopia to reclaim “ Western Somalia”. Somalia was defeated and it turned to the West for friendship. In the eighties companies aggressively came back to carry out exploration. But in the eighties , political stability was slowly eroding away and security was gradually breaking down as the military regime grew more authoritarian using a single party system, incompetent, infected with clanism, nepotism and corruption. Most of the major clans were not satisfied and consequently established political movements to up-root the regime and ultimately on 26th January 1991 it was overthrown. Later, the President of Somalia, Comrade Siyad Barre died in exile. Unfortunately Somalia entered the darkest ages of its life: lawlessness, anarchy and the absence of a central authority. Wasn’t Somalia Drilled For Oil And Not Found?! Exploration in Somali sedimentary basins: # Sedimentary basins Area in km² Wells drilled Drilling Density = Area/wells 1 The Lamu Embayment 35,000 3 11,666 2 Mandera – Luuq 40,000 4 10,000 3 The Somali coastal 50,000 13 3,846 4 Hiiraan Sub-basin 45,000 5 9,000 5 Galmudug basin 95,000 13 7,307 6 Nugaal Valley 60,000 8 7,500 7 Dharoor Valley 85,000 10 8,500 8 The Guban 35,000 7 5,000 8 basins 445,000 63 wells N.B The last two wells drilled in the Dharoor Valley of Puntland are included. Wasn’t Somalia drilled for oil and gas and why new ventures now? Petroleum exploration has extended over 60 years. The first exploratory well, the Sagaleh-1, was completed in 1956 and likewise Hobyo-1 was inscribed to have been finished in October 1956. As of the end of 2012, a total of 63 wells have been drilled. None of these wells has been commercially successful, although some have had hydrocarbon shows. The fundamental questions of finding oil in Somalia are all positive: 1. Has oil been generated in the area? Yes. · There are some large oil seeps in North Somalia (Somaliland) and in the Southwest where Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia meet. · In Sagaleh-1 of Agip (Puntland), oil staining was found in a porous limestone-dolomitic series of the Jurassic. · Gira-1 of Sinclair (near Wisil in Galmudug) found a small oil show in the Jurassic · In Cotton-1 of Agip, a good gas show was found at 91m of Cretaceous limestone. · Auradu Paleocene limestones showed oil stains in the Sagaleh, Cotton and Gira wells. · In Merca-1 shelf-limestones of Oligocene age of 792m showed no hydrocarbon traces but the Eocene sandstones in this well not only had good oil staining but contained gas under good pressure · Afgoye-1 of Sinclair, north of Merca also had a good gas show. · In Calub and Halala (Wardheer, Ethiopia), Tenneco Oil Corp discovered gas and these fields are not far from Galinsoor in Galmudug. · Again Tenneco discovered a non-commercial oil in El Kuran near the Bakool border with Ethiopia. 2. Are there suitable reservoir rocks? Yes. - A reservoir rock has porosity and permeability. Porous sandstone and fractured limestone are good reservoir rocks. Porous dolomitic- limestone are plenty in the sedimentary sequence of Somalia. There also basal clastics that terminated in early Jurassic. 3. Are there seals or cap rocks? Yes. - Oil and gas accumulate only where seals occur above and around reservoir rocks so as to stop the upward migration of oil and gas and form traps. 4. Are there suitable structures? Yes. - Structural traps: These traps hold oil and gas because the earth has been bent or deformed. The trap may be simple. Also, there are stratigraphic traps The Reasons why previous exploration did not reach a commercial discovery? 1. Early geologic models were incorrect – bad well location occurred in many wells. 2. Early data were of insufficient resolution – bad well location was a major problem. Many of the previous tests were drilled on old or inadequate seismic data. Better geophysical techniques and modern explorations concepts will provide improved opportunities for any exploration undertaken in the future. 3. Technological development in seismic surveying and in other areas of exploration has occurred and now exploration is more promising. 4. Favourable terms and a new petroleum law with a production sharing agreement, were passed by the parliament in 2006 and Somalia is ready for exploration, development, production and exporting. 5. Stability is slowly coming back and the country is democratically transforming. 6. Location and geographical: Not far away from the emerging markets of China and India and the production is easily exportable. Why is Somalia under-explored and neglected for so long? Somalia has been sparsely explored. The drilling density shows you that wells are spaced far away from each other. However, Somalia contains several exploration plays with world-class potential that remain to be tested. Just prior to the collapse of the “Somali State” in December of 1990, several concessions were held by major international petroleum companies and at least three key wells were scheduled to be drilled. Then the civil war broke out and companies have to flee. 1. Political reason and instability: Petroleum exploration began after the Second World War and the first exploratory well, the Sagaleh-1 was completed in 1956. From the early seventies to mid- eighties Somalia was roughly in the Soviet Block and slight exploration occurred. Things changed after 1985 when giant oil companies rushed to Somalia to take up concessions for exploration. However, in January 1991 the Somali government collapsed and the country went into a civil war. Then the oil companies declared force majeure to return back when the political condition stabilises. Then in 2006, the then President of Somalia, Abdullahi Yussuf, invited the companies with the lease to come back to resume their work. But none came back and the force majeure condition was revoked. 2. The boom elsewhere: There was a boom going in the Middle East and then West Africa and Somalia was considered as a frontier province that requires a lot of resources. Oil companies were very busy in West Africa, the Middle East and South America, mainly Brazil. 3. Low well-density or drilling density: To this day, there are 63 wells drilled in the various basins of Somalia and none of these wells has been commercially successful although some have had shown hydrocarbon shows. One of the reasons is that wells are spaced far from each other at distances of 50 – 100 km apart and in some cases spacing was 250 – 400 km. Oil and Gas Potential: Most of Somalia has a Jurassic to Miocene sedimentary section that ranges from two to five km thick and is divided into seven unconformity-or transgression-bounded sequences. Thicknesses of these sequences vary significantly within eight depositional basins. There are at least eight petroleum basins in Somalia that hold potential prospects ready for exploration and development. Some of these sedimentary basins have sediment thicknesses more than five kilometres and contain good source rocks, reservoir rocks, seals and traps necessary for oil and gas to deposit. Inland, the Jurassic to Tertiary section consists primarily of inter-bedded platform limestones and shales, locally with evaporites. This section is transitional eastward to deeper water shelf and basinal deposits along the coastal margin. Mesozoic rifts are present in northern Somalia. The early Cretaceous was a time of widespread emergence. Deltas related to major drainages developed in the Late Cretaceous and Tertiary; subsidence led to accumulation of a thick Tertiary section of deltaic and marginal marine deposits in southeastern Somalia. The main structural elements resulted from rifting of Gondwanaland during Carboniferous to Jurassic, separation of Madagascar-India in early Late Jurassic, and opening of the Gulf of Aden in mid-Tertiary. In central and southern Somalia, warping and down-to-the-coast faulting is Late Cretaceous to mid-Tertiary in age. In the north, most deformation is related to Gulf of Aden rifting in which Africa separated from the Arabian Peninsula. Mature, oil-prone source beds combined with potential reservoir rocks and structures occur in a variety of geological settings. Viable exploration plays include rift basins, regional arches, carbonate platform margins, deltaic complexes, and faulted basin margins. Conclusion: Time has come for investors and international oil companies to aggressively consider exploring for oil and gas in Somalia. The country has a lot to offer: eight sedimentary basins with columns of 5 to 6 km in several areas and a range in age from Jurassic or Triassic to Tertiary. Tectonics for the past 200 my have been extensional, leading to these thick and varied columns. Facies changes, faults, arches, and folds associated with extensional tectonics provide many possible combinations of trap, reservoir, seal and source rock. Many of the previous tests were drilled on old or inadequate seismic data. Better geophysical techniques and modern exploration concepts will provide improved opportunities to present ventures. The country is also located geographically in a strategic place in Africa having a long coastal line and it is easy to export to India, Japan and China and other emerging markets around the world. We remain optimistic about Somalia’s hydrocarbon potential whether it is onshore or offshore. But companies need to be socially responsible: transparent, free of corruption and bribery. We want companies to operate safely without causing environmental degradation like in Niger Delta or in the Gulf of Mexico. Likewise companies should contribute to the communities in which they operate by creating jobs, using local supplies and supporting community development. The aim is to make an ever-lasing difference to the quality of the communities’lives. References: 1. Barnes, S.U. ; 1976, Geology and oil prospects of Somalia, East Africa; AAPG; Bulletin; v.60; pp. 389 – 413. 2. Brady Michael J and Harms, J.C; Exploration history and hydrocarbon potential of Somalia: A technical talk; Kansas Geological Society – Technical Talk 2002. 3. Bosollini, Alfonso; 1989; The continental margins of Somalia – Their structural evolution and sequence stratigraphy; Memorie Scienze Geologiche; v. 41; pp: 373 – 458. 4. Cella, F.; Dorre, A.S and Rapolla A., 1995; Gravity study of the crustal structures of Somalia along the International Lithosphere Program Geo-transects; Journal of African Earth Sceinces; Vol. 30; pp. 263 – 274. 5. Harms, J.C and Naleye, Ali M; Petroleum exploration in Somalia; Geology and mineral resources of Somalia and the surrounding regions; First Agron; Oltremare, Firenze; Relaz e Monogr. 113, pp. 417 – 428, 1993. 6. SOEC (Somaliland Oil Exploration Company), 1954; A geological reconnaissance of the sedimentary deposits of the Protectorate of the British Somaliland: London, Crown Agents for the Colonies;

Thursday, 21 July 2011


Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Galmudug State Minister blamed the international navies for the loss of civilian lives and fishing boats and demanded an apology.

Fourteen Iranian fishermen who were stranded along the Somali Indian Ocean coast after an attack, have been moved to the capital of semi-autonomous Galmudug state.

The Iranians were moved Friday to Galkayo town, about 750 km north of Mogadishu.

The seamen were stranded at Hobyo, a coastal town, 660km northeast of Mogadishu, where their fishing boat was reportedly attacked on Wednesday and Thursday by helicopter gunships from the international navy warships patrolling the Somali coast against pirates.

Mr Abdiweli Hassan Hersi, the Police Commander in Hobyo, told Radio Mogadishu, a state run broadcaster, that all the fishermen were in good conditions, except two who were slightly wounded.

“The Iranian boat that was anchored there was attacked by three choppers for the second time in two days, forcing the Iranians to swim to the shore,” said the Hobyo police boss.

“Three Somalis died in the incident as two bodies were found at the beach,” he added.

According to the locals, the Iranian fishing boat sunk after being set ablaze by the fire from the choppers.

Galmudug Authority’s minster for Fisheries and Marine Resources Mohamed Ali Gurey, condemned the operations carried out by the international navy for victimising civilians.

The minister blamed the international navies for the loss of civilian lives and fishing boats and demanded an apology.

Muktar Haji


An Iranian was among three suspected pirates wounded after foreign warships in the Indian Ocean attacked a boat off Somalia’s coastal town of Hobyo, Galmudug State Wednesday afternoon, witnesses said on Friday.

At least three suspected Somali pirates were also slain in the raid conducted by a helicopter of unknown origin, according to Bashir Abdi Guled, a fisherman in Hobyo, a town about 500 kilometers (300 miles) northeast of the capital Mogadishu.

“An Iranian citizen, who I think was fisherman, and two Somalis wounded in the raid were taken a medical facility in the town for treatment,” Guled told All Headline News by phone, adding that all Somalis killed or wounded in the raid were fishermen.

Guled noted that early Thursday morning, a helicopter and three skiffs mounted with heavy and light guns attacked the same place, this time tearing down the boat used by the suspected pirates. No casualties were reported.

It was not immediately clear which country conducted the two attacks.

Mohammed Ali Gurey, the minister of fisheries and sea resources for Gal-mudug state, a self-styled administration in parts of Mudug region in central Somalia, on Friday told reporters in the northern town of Galka’yo that they received information that at least 15 Iranians were among those who came under attack.

“One of Iranians injured in the attack and brought to a local hospital along with two Somalis” the minister said.

“All Iranian citizens in the coastal town have [been] involved in illegal fishing off Somalia coasts,” Gurey spelled out.

Gal-mudug’s minister of fisheries also accused NATO warships and naval forces of harming and killing Somali fishermen intentionally, calling for the international community to intervene.

The Iranian government has not released any comments about the attacks or their wounded fishermen.


Monday, 25 April 2011


East Africa is next hot oil zone

London APR 25 2011(UPI) --
East Africa is emerging as the next oil boom following a big strike in Uganda's Lake Albert Basin. Other oil and natural gas reserves have been found in Tanzania and Mozambique and exploration is under way in Ethiopia and even war-torn Somalia.

The region, until recently largely ignored by the energy industry, is "the last real high-potential area in the world that hasn't been fully explored," says Richard Schmitt, chief executive officer of Dubai's Black Marlin Energy, which is prospecting in East Africa.

The discovery at Lake Albert, in the center of Africa between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, is estimated to contain the equivalent of several billion barrels of oil. It is likely to be the biggest onshore field found south of the Sahara Desert in two decades.

Tullow Oil, the British exploration company backed by a $1.4 billion loan from the Royal Bank of Scotland, says its Ngassa field in Uganda may be the biggest find in the Lake Albert Basin to date with up to 600 million barrels.

Tullow has discovered reserves equivalent to around 2 billion barrels of oil in Uganda in the last four years. Most of the initial finds in East Africa were made by independent wildcatters like Tullow and another British firm, Heritage Oil, run by former mercenary Tony Buckingham.

Now the majors are moving in. Heritage recently sold its 50 percent share in two Lake Albert Basin fields to Eni of Italy for $1.5 billion.

Eni said the two blocks have the potential to produce 1 billion barrels and is fighting it out with Tullow for control of the reserves on the Ugandan side of Lake Albert.

The Italian company is busy expanding in sub-Saharan Africa and has interests in Angola, Nigeria, Gabon, Mozambique and the Republic of Congo.

The Ugandan government is negotiating with several majors with the financial clout to handle the enormous investment required to develop these emerging fields.

Front-runners reportedly include China's state-run CNOOC, Total of France and Exxon Mobil of the United States.

Andarko Petroleum Corp. of Texas says it has hit a giant natural gas field off the coast of Mozambique, a former Portuguese colony that became independent in 1975. Norway's Statoil is drilling in Mozambique's Rovuma Basin.

Since the 2006 find at Lake Albert, one of the Great Lakes of Africa strung out along the Great Rift Valley, there have been at least 15 confirmed major strikes in the region.

The Indian Ocean island of Madagascar contains "enormous reserves," according to Tiziana Luzzi-Arbouille of IHS Global Insight consultancy of London.

"What happened in Uganda made it easier for smaller companies to raise funding," said Tewodros Ashenafi, head of Southwest Energy, an Ethiopian company exploring in the Ogaden Basin in the east of the country.

This is a vast 135,000-square-mile territory in landlocked Ethiopia that is believed to contain sizable reserves of oil. It is estimated to hold 4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas as well.

Malaysia's Petronas, which recently acquired major blocks in Iraq, signed an exploration agreement with Addis Ababa in August 2007.

The main problem for the oil industry is that the Ogaden, like many parts of Africa, is a conflict zone, as it has been pretty much since the Cold War in the 1970s. This is one reason why exploration has been so tardy.

Separatist rebels of the Ogaden National Liberation Front have warned oil companies to keep away and in April 2007 attacked a Chinese exploration group, killing 74 people.

Petronas is also exploring in the Gambella Basin of western Ethiopia.

Somalia has been torn by wars between feuding militias and clans since dictator Siad Barre was toppled in 1991 but it is also considered to hold considerable oil reserves.

A 1993 study by Petroconsultants of Geneva concluded that Somalia has two of the most potentially interesting hydrocarbon-yielding basins in the entire region -- one in the central Mudugh region, the other in the Gulf of Aden.

That was one of 10 such basins across Somalia, southeast Ethiopia and northeast Kenya.

More recent analyses indicate that Somalia could have reserves of up to 10 billion barrels.

But exploration remains an extremely hazardous undertaking. And it's likely to become more so as the country becomes a major focus for U.S. counter-terrorism operations against al-Qaida and its affiliates who are dug in there."

http://www.upi.com/Science_News/Resourc ... 268249530/

The two most promising hydrocarbon-yielding basins is located in North Central Somalia now called GalMudug State
Muktar Haji Blogger Galmudug4life.

Galmudug State Of Somalia Oil and Gas

Far beneath the surface of the tragic drama of Somalia, four major U.S. oil companies are quietly sitting on a prospective fortune in exclusive concessions to explore and exploit tens of millions of acres of the Somali countryside.
That land, in the opinion of geologists and industry sources, could yield significant amounts of oil and natural gas if the U.S.-led military mission can restore peace to the impoverished East African nation.
According to documents obtained by The Times, nearly two-thirds of Somalia was allocated to the American oil giants Conoco, Amoco, Chevron and Phillips in the final years before Somalia's pro-U.S. President Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown and the nation plunged into chaos in January, 1991. Industry sources said the companies holding the rights to the most promising concessions are hoping that the Bush Administration's decision to send U.S. troops to safeguard aid shipments to Somalia will also help protect their multimillion-dollar investments there.
Officially, the Administration and the State Department insist that the U.S. military mission in Somalia is strictly humanitarian. Oil industry spokesmen dismissed as "absurd" and "nonsense" allegations by aid experts, veteran East Africa analysts and several prominent Somalis that President Bush, a former Texas oilman, was moved to act in Somalia, at least in part, by the U.S. corporate oil stake.
But corporate and scientific documents disclosed that the American companies are well positioned to pursue Somalia's most promising potential oil reserves the moment the nation is pacified. And the State Department and U.S. military officials acknowledge that one of those oil companies has done more than simply sit back and hope for pece.
Conoco Inc., the only major multinational corporation to mantain a functioning office in Mogadishu throughout the past two years of nationwide anarchy, has been directly involved in the U.S. government's role in the U.N.-sponsored humanitarian military effort.
Conoco, whose tireless exploration efforts in north-central Somalia called Galmudug state of Somalia reportedly had yielded the most encouraging prospects just before Siad Barre's fall, permitted its Mogadishu corporate compound to be transformed into a de facto American embassy a few days before the U.S. Marines landed in the capital, with Bush's special envoy using it as his temporary headquarters. In addition, the president of the company's subsidiary in Somalia won high official praise for serving as the government's volunteer "facilitator" during the months before and during the U.S. intervention.
Describing the arrangement as "a business relationship," an official spokesman for the Houston-based parent corporation of Conoco Somalia Ltd. said the U.S. government was paying rental for its use of the compound, and he insisted that Conoco was proud of resident general manager Raymond Marchand's contribution to the U.S.-led humanitarian effort.
John Geybauer, spokesman for Conoco Oil in Houston, said the company was acting as "a good corporate citizen and neighbor" in granting the U.S. government's request to be allowed to rent the compound. The U.S. Embassy and most other buildings and residential compounds here in the capital were rendered unusable by vandalism and fierce artillery duels during the clan wars that have consumed Somalia and starved its people.
In its in-house magazine last month, Conoco reprinted excerpts from a letter of commendation for Marchand written by U.S. Marine Brig. Gen. Frank Libutti, who has been acting as military aide to U.S. envoy Robert B. Oakley. In the letter, Libutti praised the oil official for his role in the initial operation to land Marines on Mogadishu's beaches in December, and the general concluded, "Without Raymond's courageous contributions and selfless service, the operation would have failed."
But the close relationship between Conoco and the U.S. intervention force has left many Somalis and foreign development experts deeply troubled by the blurry line between the U.S. government and the large oil company, leading many to liken the Somalia operation to a miniature version of Operation Desert Storm, the U.S.-led military effort in January, 1991, to drive Iraq from Kuwait and, more broadly, safeguard the world's largest oil reserves.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Galmudug State Resource

1. Classification of uranium deposits:

A listing of the recognized types of uranium mineralization shows nineteen determinable types out of which only six can be classified as of economic significance at present: Oligomictic quartz pebble conglomerates, sandstone types, calcretes, intra-intrusive types, hydrothermal veins, veinlike types. The different types can be genetically related to prevalent geological environments:

a. the primary uranium occurrences formed by endogenic processes (Aliyow Geelle in Bur Complex; and in Northern Crystalline Basement).

b. the secondary derived from the primary by subsequent exogenic processes (produced by processes of tropical chemical weathering such as in calcrete (the Galmudug type).

c. the tertiary occurrences are assumed to be formed by endogenic metamorphic processes.,

However, little is known about the behaviour of the uranium during the metamorphosis and thereby the metallogenesis of this tertiary uranium generation is still vague. A metallotectonic-geochronologic correlation of the uranium deposits shows that a distinct affinity of the uranium exists to certain geologic epochs: to the Upper Archean — Lower Proterozoic, to the Hercynian and in a less established stage: to the Upper Proterozoic.

The uranium deposits in Galgaduud and South Mudug regions of Central Somalia are surficial deposits produced by tropical chemical weathering processes. Surficial uranium deposits are broadly defined as young (Tertiary to Recent) near-surface uranium concentrations in sediments or soils. These deposits usually have secondary cementing minerals including calcite, gypsum, dolomite, ferric oxide, and halite. Uranium deposits in calcrete are the largest of the surficial deposits. Uranium mineralisation is in fine-grained surficial sand and clay, cemented by calcium and magnesium carbonates.

Surficial deposits comprise about 4% of world uranium resources. Calcrete deposits represent 5% of Australia¹s total reserves and resources of uranium. They formed where uranium-rich granites were deeply weathered in a semi-arid to arid climate. The Yeelirrie deposit in WA is by far the world's largest surficial deposit. Other significant deposits in WA include Lake Way, Centipede, Thatcher Soak, and Lake Maitland.

In WA, the calcrete uranium deposits occur in valley-fill sediments along Tertiary drainage channels, and in playa lake sediments. These deposits overlie Archaean granite and greenstone basement of the northern portion of the Yilgarn Craton. The uranium mineralisation is carnotite (hydrated potassium uranium vanadium oxide). Calcrete uranium deposits also occur in the Central Namib Desert of Namibia.

2. Uranium in Galgaduud and South Mudug regions

Apart from the Sepiolite deposits of El-Bur, and unproven reserves of hydrocarbons (oil and gas in the province), the Gal-Mudug Regions of Central Somalia is endowed with another mineral deposit, uranium deposits. Following numerous mineral explorations, the area between Dusa Mareb, El-Bur, Hobya and South Galkayo was found to contain extensive deposits of Uranium in the Taleh Formation that covers Galgaduud and South Mudug Regions. In the Miocene and the Pliocene (the Tertiary), the Taleh Formation had undergone extensive weathering in which secondary mineralization occurred. In this way Uranium minerals were formed in shallow deposits of calcretes and silcrete.

Somalia is known to have resources of uranium. The deposit in Ghelinsor-Elbur area has an estimated resource of 8,000 tons of Uranium Oxide (U3O8) from ore that grades 0.116%. The Wabo-Mirig deposit was estimated to have a resource of 5,500 t of U3O8 from ore that graded 0.08%. Dhusa Mareb had an estimated resource of 3,000 t of U3O8 from ore that graded 0.08% (Chakrabarti, 1988; pp. 95-96). The total uranium metal content of these estimated resources is 14,000 t. Nearly 6,700 t of the country’s uranium resources were estimated to be recoverable at a world market price between $80 – 130 per Kg.

If infrastructure is improved and all-weather roads are built, these resources would be recoverable at a price less than $80 per Kg (World Resources Institute and others; 1996, p. 288).

1. Developments in mining the uranium of Somalia:

Uranium deposits are found in large quantities on some maps generated in the 1970s by Soviet mineralogy surveys in Somalia. These maps showed that Ali Gelle in Buur Hakaba Crystalline basement complex (within a two hundred kilometers west of Mogadishu) as an area where uranium can be mined.

In 1982, LEVICH, Robert A., U.S. Department of Energy from (Yucca Mountain Project, 1551 Hillshire Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89134, bob_levich@ymp.gov.) led the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to evaluate uranium resources in Somalia.

In 1984, Brazilian mining company, Construtora Andrade Gutierrez announced a $300 million investment in a uranium mine in central Somalia. The deal was to be financed by Banco do Brasil, and the host government agent was the Somali Arab Mining Company (Soarmico). Soarmico was itself a joint venture founded in 1978 between the Somali government, the Arab Mining Company based in Jordan, and Iraq.

But according to a dated World Energy Council report, Somalia has only a sizeable reserve that would be (relatively) expensive to extract. (National Review On-line; 1993)

4. Current mining activities:

Somalia does not have any active uranium mining capabilities or activities, making it impossible for the country to send the mineral to illegal destination or places under UN Security Council sanctions. In addition mining the uranium needs industrial infrastructure which Somalia does not have at the moment due to more than 15 years of civil war. The World Nuclear Association's annual uranium production figures and list of worldwide uranium mining does not mention any production from Somalia.

5. Thoms R. Yager; The mineral industries of Somalia:


Dhusa Mareb - Wabo - Mirig - Wisil- province : El Bur, Dusa Mareb, Wasil


SOMALIA: Gal-Mudug State (An area between Dhusa-mareeb, El-bur, Wasil and Galkayo.




3 year average





Ore type(s)








Ore in which the element forms a distinct mineral phase.








Ore in which the element forms a distinct mineral phase.

Main morphology:

Concordant to sub-concordant envelope of disseminated ore


Cap, blanket, crust - Concordant to sub-concordant envelope of disseminated ore -

Deposit type(s):

Shallow uraniferous deposit - Sediment-hosted uranium; Arlit-type - Calcrete, silcrete -

Host rock(s):

Other duricrust : gypscrete, phoscrete, Uranium-bearing duricrust - Silcrete - Calcrete & Dolocrete - Sandstone - Sand -

Exploitation type(s):

Mining method: This deposit is not mined.



Host rock





Neogene (Miocene to Pliocene)

Neogene (Miocene to Pliocene)

Neogene (Miocene to Pliocene)

Neogene (Miocene to Pliocene)


Dormant district

The Uranium deposits of Gal-Mudug Region in Central Somalia

6. Background:

According to Wikipedia, “Uranium is a chemical element in the periodic table that has the symbol U and atomic number 92. Heavy, silvery-white, metallic, naturallyradioactive, uranium belongs to the actinide series. Its isotopes 235U and to a lesser degree 233U are used as the fuel for nuclear reactors and the explosive material fornuclear weapons. Depleted uranium (238U) is used in kinetic energy penetrators andarmor plating.”

Natural uranium metal contains about 0.71% U-235, 99.28% U-238, and about 0.0054%U-234. In order to produce enriched uranium, the process of isotope separation removes a substantial portion of the U-235 for use in nuclear power, weapons, or other uses. The remainder, depleted uranium, contains only 0.2% to 0.4% U-235. Because natural uranium begins with such a low percentage of U-235, the enrichment process produces large quantities of depleted uranium. For example, producing 1 kg of 5% enriched uranium requires 11.8 kg of natural uranium, and leaves about 10.8 kg of depleted uranium with only 0.3% U-235 remaining.

Its two principal isotopes are 235U and 238U. Naturally-occurring uranium also contains a small amount of the 234U isotope, which is a decay product of 238U. The isotope 235U or enriched uranium is important for both nuclear reactors and nuclear weaponsbecause it is the only isotope existing in nature to any appreciable extent that is fissile, that is, fissionable by thermal neutrons. The isotope 238U is also important because it absorbs neutrons to produce a radioactive isotope that subsequently decays to the isotope 239Pu (plutonium), which also is fissile.

The artificial 233U isotope is also fissile and is made from thorium-232 by neutronbombardment.

Uranium was the first element that was found to be fissile. Upon bombardment with slow neutrons, its 235U isotope becomes the very short lived 236U which immediately divides into two smaller nuclei, releasing nuclear binding energy and more neutrons. If these neutrons are absorbed by other 235U nuclei, a nuclear chain reaction occurs and, if there is nothing to absorb some neutrons and slow the reaction, the reaction is explosive. The first atomic bomb worked by this principle (nuclear fission). A more accurate name for both this and the hydrogen bomb (nuclear fusion) would be "nuclear bomb" or "nuclear weapon", because only the nuclei participate.

7. Uses

After the discovery in 1939 that it could undergo nuclear fission, uranium gained importance with the development of practical uses of nuclear energy. The first atomic bomb used in warfare, "Little Boy", was a uranium bomb. This bomb contained enough of the uranium-235 isotope to start a runaway chain reaction which in a fraction of a second caused a large number of the uranium atoms to undergo fission, thereby releasing a fireball of energy.

The main use of uranium in the civilian sector is to fuel commercial nuclear power plants. Generally this is in the form of enriched uranium, which has been processed to have higher-than-natural levels of 235U and can be used for a variety of purposes relating to nuclear fission. Commercial nuclear power plants use fuel typically enriched to 2–3% 235U, though some reactor designs (such as the Candu reactors) can usenatural uranium (unenriched, less than 1% 235U) fuel. Fuel used for United States Navysubmarine reactors is typically highly enriched in 235U (the exact values are classified information). When uranium is enriched over 85% it is known as "weapons grade". In abreeder reactor, 238U can also be converted into plutonium.

8. Uranium as source of nuclear energy:

Currently the major application of uranium in the U.S. military sector is in high-density penetrators. This ammunition consists of depleted uranium alloyed with 1–2% other elements. The applications of these armor-piercing rounds range from the 20 mmPhalanx gun of the U.S. Navy for piercing attacking missiles, through the 30 mm gun inA-10 aircraft, to 105mm and larger tank barrels. At high impact speed, the density, hardness, and flammability of the projectile enable destruction of heavily armored targets. Tank armour and the removable armour on combat vehicles are also hardened with depleted uranium (DU) plates. The use of DU became a contentious political-environmental issue after US, UK and other countries' use of DU munitions in wars in the Persian Gulf and the Balkans raised questions of uranium compounds left in the soil.

Occurrence in Gal-Mudug regions of Central Somalia

Uranium ore is rock containing uranium mineralisation in concentrations that can be mined economically, typically 1 to 4 pounds of uranium oxide per ton or 0.05 to 0.20 percent uranium oxide.

Naturally occurring uranium is composed of three major isotopes, 238U, 235U, and 234U, with 238U being the most abundant (99.3% natural abundance). All three isotopes are radioactive, creating radioisotopes, with the most abundant and stable being 238U with a half-life of 4.5 × 109 years, 235U with a half-life of 7 × 108 years, and 234U with a half-life of 2.5 × 105 years. 238U is an α emitter, decaying through the uranium natural decay series into 206Pb.


1. Chakrabarti, A.K., 1988. An appraisal of the mineral potential of the Somali Democratic Republic: Mogadishu, Somalia: The United Nations Revolving Fund for Natural Resources Exploration, 230 p.

2. M. Siad (1989): Application of geostatistical techniques in the evaluation of Wabo uranium deposit, Galgudud region, central Somalia. ITC Journal 1989-1, Enschede, the Netherlands.

3. M. O. Childers, and R. V. Bailey; Classification of uranium deposits, Rocky Mountain Geology; October 1979; v. 17; no. 2; p. 187-199.

4. World Resources Institute, United Nations Environment Programme, UNDP and World Bank, 1996. World Resources, 1996 – 1997, Oxford, UK, Oxford Press, p. 365