Turkey Inks Oil and Gas Cooperation Pact with Somalia

(Reuters) — Turkey signed an offshore oil and natural gas cooperation deal with Somalia on Thursday, the Turkish Energy Ministry said, further strengthening bilateral ties after agreeing a defense deal last month.

The energy ministry said the deal, which it described as an inter-governmental agreement, includes exploration, evaluation, development and production of oil in Somalia's land and sea blocks.

"With this agreement, we will carry out joint activities to bring the resources of Somalia to the Somali people. We aim to strengthen Turkey's presence in the Horn of Africa with new collaborations in the field of energy," Energy Minister Alparslan Bayraktar said on social media platform X.

"Oil and natural gas exploration offshore of Somalia, and it looks more like oil for now, will start very soon in the areas we have identified. We will maybe send our seismic (exploration) vessel there in the first phase," he said separately in a panel, without elaborating.

The deal includes transportation, distribution, refining, sales and services operations of oil and other products from land and sea projects, the ministry also said.

Turkey has become a close ally of the Somali government. It has built schools, hospitals and infrastructure and provided scholarships for Somalis to study in Turkey.

In 2017, Turkey opened its biggest overseas military base in Mogadishu. Turkey also provides training to Somali military and police.

In February, Turkey signed a defense and economic cooperation agreement with Somalia and will provide maritime security support to help the African country defend its territorial waters.

Albayrak said Turkey was also interested in oil and gas exploration with Libya. In 2022, Ankara signed a deal similar to Thursday's accord with Somalia with Libya's internationally-recognized government in Tripoli.

"We are interested in offshore Libya, our interest in some areas on land continues. But Somalia is an exploration operation that we are especially considering on the sea," he added.

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