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Oil in Ogaden



The Reporter — Poly-GCL, the Chinese company engaged in oil and gas exploration and development project in the Ethio-Somali Regional State, Ogaden basin, has discovered oil and gas deposits.

Poly-GCL, which signed petroleum exploration and development agreement with the then Ministry of Mines in November 2013, has been prospecting for oil and gas reserve in a vast exploration area in the Ogaden basin. The company is also trying to develop the Calub and Hilala gas fields which was found in the Ogaden basin many years ago.

Koang Tutlam (MD), state minister of the Ministry of Mines, Petroleum and Natural Gas, told The Reporter that Poly-GCL has discovered additional gas reserves in the Calub gas field. “In the appraisal wells the company drilled around Calub it has discovered additional gas reserve. If you remember we were talking about 4.7 Trillion Cubic Feet (TCF) of gas reserve. Now the recoverable gas amount reached 6-8 TCF. The amount has increased significantly,” Dr. Koang said.

Dr. Koang said Poly-GCL has discovered some amount of oil in the new exploration wells it drilled around Hilala locality, 1,200 km southeast of Addis Ababa. “In the new exploration wells they drilled they have found some oil. But we do not have figures right now. The company is making assessment to determine the amount of oil. We will reveal the figures once the assessment is completed.”

The Calub and Hilala gas fields were discovered by an American company called Tenneco in 1972. Former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) oil firm, Soviet Petroleum Exploration Expedition (SPEE), which was prospecting for oil in the Ogaden basin in 1980s, confirmed the gas reserves in Calub and Hilala localities estimated at four TCF.

A veteran petroleum geologist told The Reporter that Poly-GCL has found additional gas reserve in the same Calub structure but in a different horizon. “They have been drilling additional wells to appraise the existing gas reserve. So they must have found additional reserve in a different horizon.”
The petroleum geologist said it was not for the first time when trace of oil was found in the Hilala locality. Tenneco discovered a non-commercial oil reserve in Hilala in 1973. Oil shows have also been noted in various exploration wells drilled in Hilala and Elkuran localities.

The petroleum expert said that the Chinese now came up with a latest oil exploration technology that enabled them to identify what the Americans did not see. “They have not found a new structure but they have discovered some oil in a different horizon. The Americans and Russians were working in the Ogaden in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Now we are in 2018 and the Chinese have an advanced exploration technologies that enable them to trace the hydrocarbon resources.”

The petroleum expert pointed out that Poly-GCL has conducted 3D and 2D seismic surveys that helped them to undertake “successful” exploration work. However, he said it was too early to forecast the amount of oil reserve that the Chinese discovered. “It is only after successive well taste and exhaustive geo chemical laboratory analysis that they can determine the amount of the reserve. At this moment one cannot tell that the reserve is commercial or not.”

Poly-GCL has subcontracted another Chinese company, BGP Geo Services, which has been collecting seismic data in the license area covering 93,000 of arid land.

In addition to the ongoing exploration work, Poly-GCL is trying to exploit the natural gas reserves in the Calub and Hilala gas fields. Eight gas production wells have been drilled and made ready for production in Calub. Poly GCL planned to extract the gas reserve in Calub and Hilala and export it via a gas pipeline that would be constructed from the gas fields to all the way to the port of Djibouti.

Dr. Koang told The Reporter that works on the gas development project is progressing. “Poly-GCL has signed agreement on the pipeline construction with the governments of Ethiopia and Djibouti. We (the Ethiopian government) are now negotiating with the Government of Djibouti on the pipeline construction. It is an intergovernmental negotiation,” he said.

According to Dr. Koang, Poly-GCL will build an LNG plant in Djibouti that would change the gas into liquid natural gas which will be exported to China with special LNG vessels. The total cost of the gas development project is estimated at four billion dollars. Dr. Koang said Poly GCL would start exporting gas by 2021.

In the meantime, Poly GCL is working on the gas development plan. “They are working on the pipeline construction plan,. They are working on it with full swing,” Dr. Koang said.

If Poly-GCL’s gas field development project comes to fruition Ethiopia would soon become a hydrocarbon producing country.

This article was first published on THE REPORTER

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Somali News

Somalis Harmed by Suspected Drone Strike Demand Accountability



JUST SECURITY — On a clear afternoon in December 2017, five alleged civilians, including a five-year-old child, were killed in an apparent airstrike in Ilimeey, a small village in southwestern Somalia. Eyewitnesses to the incident believe the attack came from a U.S drone. Two of those believed to have been killed in the strike were members of the same family, leaving a three-month-old without a father and a brother.

Robleh* a clan elder from Ilimeey, and a witness to the strike, recalled the painful details of the attack when he came to visit the Mogadishu offices of my NGO, the Somali Human Rights Association (SOHRA), an independent human rights and humanitarian organization that investigates, documents, and monitors the human rights situation in Somalia since April 2002. As part of its work to advance human rights protections in Somalia, SOHRA has a team of six field researchers and three volunteers that document civilian harm on the ground.

Robleh was outside his home in Ilimeey on December 6, 2017, when he heard a steady, humming sound overhead. He looked to see what was causing the sound and noticed a strange plane. It was a little after Islam’s midday Dhuhr prayers when he saw the plane fire a missile. Robleh then heard what sounded like the roar of thunder, followed by the screams of his neighbors.

“I rushed to the site of impact and saw that the bomb caused a hole as deep as a watering well and destroyed six homes. The bomb melted like steel. I looked closer, and all I saw was death in the destruction,” recalled Robleh.

While Ilimeey is located in an area that Al-Shabaab controlled, village residents say the air assault that December afternoon claimed the lives of five civilians. Among them were five-year-old Osman Hussein, his 43-year-old father, Osman Hussein Abdi, and a 17-year-old girl, Amina Abdow. Osman Hussein Abdi’s three-month-old daughter, Safiya Osman Hussein, was also injured, together with Mohamed Nuur Hussein, 23, who was following his goats for grazing when he was unfortunate enough to pass the village tea shop that was struck.

Robleh told me that the survivors, Safiya and Mohamed Nuur, were taken to Medina Hospital in Mogadishu to be treated for shrapnel injuries, receiving treatment for nearly a month before they returned to Ilimeey.

No power to raise their case

Most of the residents in Ilimeey are poor farmers, or earn a living by tending to their herd. Unlike the survivors of other, well-documented, U.S. actions in Somalia, such as the August 2017 raid in Bariire, residents from Ilimeey hail from a small village of just 156 families, all members of the Garre clan – a group with no political influence or power to raise the profile of the incident. In the Bariire case, survivors and families hailed from an influential clan and were able to challenge U.S. government claims that no civilians were killed by raising media and public pressure, which forced the U.S. government to re-open an investigation to assess the claims of civilian casualties. (To date, it is not clear whether the results of the Bariire investigation will be released to the public.)

But for clans and families in areas with less influence, or in areas with no government control, there is less attention and public pressure when civilians are allegedly killed. With little or no acknowledgment, families in these areas feel there is no way to obtain justice for the harm they suffer.

Who was responsible for the Ilimeey strike?

The alleged strike in Ilimeey coincides with a surge in U.S. strikes in Somalia that has occurred over the last several months. In an attempt to understand what Robleh saw, SOHRA showed him photos of different aircraft after our interview. He viewed photos of a Kenyan military aircraft, which operate in Somalia, as well as several different types of aircraft used by the U.S. government in its military operations. He pointed to the MQ-9 Reaper drone, identifying it as the strange pilotless plane he saw and heard.

While the U.S. military has acknowledged carrying out operations in the same Lower Shabelle region in the past, it denied carrying out strikes the day of the December 2017 Ilimeey attack. When asked by the Guardian about Kenyan operations in Somalia, Francisco Madeira, a spokesperson from the African Union Peacekeeping Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), claimed that Kenya had “not been responsible for strikes in Somalia in 2017.” (Kenyan armed forces have been conducting operations against Al-Shabaab in Somalia since October 2011 and were officially integrated into AMISOM operations in 2012.)

Investigations and Transparency are needed

If indeed carried out by the United States, the strike in Ilimeey would be one of several recent U.S. operations in the country that have allegedly led to civilian deaths. As the Bariire raid demonstrates, these strikes and military operations may not be killing members of Al-Shabaab, but the innocent civilians trapped under Al-Shabaab’s control.

Al-Shabaab is responsible for significant civilian harm in Somalia, including through explosive weapons, suicide attacks, targeted assassinations, and public executions. It is also responsible for restricting the movement of Somalis from accessing goods and assistance. We want them to be stopped. But Somalis are afraid that the tactics used to defeat Al-Shabaab are not effectively protecting civilians.

Somalis see foreign troops in the country as a necessary evil: at least until the weak Somali government and army become strong enough to maintain security. At the same time, Somalis are growing resentful that the foreign actors meant to be protecting the security of the Somali people are actually causing further harm – harm, which is unacknowledged, or at the worst, not believed.

Robleh came to SOHRA to find someone who could speak on behalf of his case and to recognize the harm that members of his clan have suffered. When I asked him what he would want to tell the American government, he said: “We want the U.S. government to fight Al-Shabaab and protect us without treating all of us as the enemy.”

The lack of information about airstrikes in Somalia is the single greatest obstacle to accountability. For most Somali victims of Al-Shabaab attacks, they seek protection and stability, as well as an acknowledgment of their loss. But ineffective U.S. military operations that result in civilian harm will only breed further resentment toward the U.S. and the West, especially if there continues to be no accountability.

If the Americans did carry out the Ilimeey strike which allegedly killed five civilians, including two children, then they need to at a minimum, publicly acknowledge responsibility for the strike, investigate the incident, and offer assistance to the families and victims. If the Americans did not carry out the strike, they need to explain so publicly.

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Somali News

SUPER NOSTALGIC 1980’s Mogadishu Somalia



The song is Uurkeyga Ku Taal by Banadiri Legend Ahmed Sharif Killer (RIP)

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Somali News

AU mission trains Somali police officers on human rights



MOGADISHU (Xinhua) – The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) on Saturday wrapped up gender awareness training for about 98 Somali police officers in four regional states in Somalia to help broaden their knowledge on human rights.

The AU mission said the officers including other security personnel were trained in places including Kismayo, Baidoa, Beletweyne, with the most recent being in Adado in central Somalia.

Stella Maranga, the AMISOM Gender Officer, said the objective of the trainings is to try and sensitize the members of the military and the security forces on the importance of gender and respect for human rights.

Maranga said the meetings were also meant to highlight issues of gender to the participants to enable them to handle such matters in their daily duties.

“We have been conducting a series of trainings for the Somalia security sector; these trainings are targeting members of the security sector from the CID, the police, NISA, the military and also the civilians who work in the ministries that are related to the security sector,” she said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

AMISOM said the trainings were part of the mission’s elaborate program to help professionalize the Somali security forces and make it effective in maintaining law and order.

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