Turkey plans to start oil and gas exploration in the Horn of Africa in order to expand its energy ties with regional countries. In addition to Somalia, the Turkish parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee has also approved a deal signed with Ethiopia, a landlocked country in the Horn of Africa, to cooperate in energy, hydrocarbons and mining.
According to Article 1 of the agreement, obtained by Nordic Monitor, the Turkey-Ethiopia energy cooperation mechanism will focus on promoting “cooperation in the fields of mining and hydrocarbon between the Parties on the basis of a mutual understanding, taking into account the expertise and the development needs of the Parties.”
The agreement states in Article 3 that Turkey and Ethiopia will conduct joint projects in the development and promotion of minerals, oil and gas exploration and exploitation; storage, marketing, transport and distribution of oil derivatives; construction and maintenance of oil and gas infrastructure; and the application of gas technology.
In its meeting on February 5, 2020, the Foreign Affairs Committee approved comprehensive energy and mining cooperation deals with neighboring countries Somalia and Ethiopia a week after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s statement on the invitation by the Somali government to conduct energy drilling and exploration operations off its coasts. Recent developments and parliamentary actions reveal that Turkey has already established the legal basis to become a key energy actor in the Horn of Africa.
The agreement was signed on December 28, 2016 in Addis Ababa by then-Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci and Ethiopian Mines, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Motuma Mekassa Zeru.
The deal also covers technical cooperation in mineral, petroleum and natural gas, the exchange of visits by policymakers and experts, the promotion of specialized training courses, the organization of workshops, conferences and exhibitions aimed at attracting investments in the fields of minerals and hydrocarbons, joint activities on gold and other metallic minerals and technical cooperation on geology, management and consultancy.
The agreement in Article 5 underlines that the parties should encourage “public and/or private companies to invest in mining and hydrocarbon sectors in both countries.”
The 13-article agreement was submitted to parliament for ratification on January 25, 2019 by President Erdoğan.
The letter submitted to parliament seeking approval of the agreement:
In accordance with Article 6, the parties will establish a “Mining and Hydrocarbon Working Group” to jointly develop cooperation plans as well as for the implementation and analysis of the work to be performed. The agenda, time and place of the meetings shall be agreed by the parties, Article 6 states.
Furthermore, the deal sets forth conditions on the handling of classified information produced under the agreement, specifying how it will be transmitted and published.
The terms of the agreement will be executed by the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources on the Turkish side and the Ministry of Mines, Petroleum and Natural Gas for Ethiopia. The deal is valid for five years with automatic renewal for successive periods of five years. According to the agreement, either party may notify the other of the intent to terminate at least six months in advance.
The hydrocarbon and mining cooperation agreement is posted below:
In April 2018 Chinese company Poly-GCL, which has been involved in an exploration and development project in the Horn of Africa, discovered 7 to 8 billion cubic feet of natural gas in the Ogaden basin. Poly-GCL is expected to lay a pipeline to transport the gas to ports in neighboring Djibouti. To this end, Ethiopian and Djiboutian government officials agreed on the Poly-GCL pipeline project in February 2019. Ogaden, a disputed region between Ethiopia and Somalia, may hold significant reserves of crude oil and gas, the latest energy reports noted.