Oiling wheels of African deal


HAVING STEPPED down last week from the board of Circle Oil, Irish businessman John McKeon has turned his attention to oil exploration in Somaliland, a self-governing African region that is seeking international recognition and independence from Somalia

McKeon is one of the promoters of Enex Energy Resources, which has a joint venture with the government of Somaliland to prospect licences to the southeast of the de facto state.

Somaliland's foreign minister, Abdillahi Mohamed Duale, was in Dublin this week. Enex was registered in Ireland.

Director Len Tiahlo says it expects to be shooting seismic in Somaliland by Christmas and hopes to drill two test wells.

He described the prospect as "world class", meaning it could have hundreds of millions of barrels of oil. That remains to be seen. This is a risky venture and the area in question is under claim by a Canadian company.

Somaliland's government says the claim is spurious. This might be true but if Tiahlo is right about his prospect's potential, he will surely have to fight to establish a legal right to extract oil.

That's to say nothing of the terrorists and pirates operating in the region or the fact that Somaliland has yet to gain UN recognition.

McKeon is no stranger to doing business in Africa.

Earlier this month, he persuaded a Libyan fund set up by Col Muammar Gadafy to invest 19 million in Circle, which he co-founded, for its drilling activities in Africa.

Pulling off a similar trick with Enex would surely top it.



Source : Irish Times