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The East African Energy Forum has issued warnings to the Kenyan Government and four international oil companies today that are illegally exploiting offshore hydrocarbon concessions off the southern coast of Somalia. The lobby group has said in its directive to the oil giants that they have engaged in a gross infringement of Somalia's offshore resources, territorial integrity and sovereignty.
"These offshore oil blocks are solely owned by the Republic of Somalia as stipulated in the 1982 UN Common Law on the Sea (UNCLOS). Kenya's move to sell these oil blocks violates international law" says Abdillahi Mohamud, the lobby's managing director.
He states that the oil blocks sold by Kenya in Somali waters are L21, L23, L24 purchased by Italy's Eni, L22 by France's Total S.A., L5 by USA's Anadarko Petroleum Corporation and Block L26 by Norway's Statoil.
The lobby group warned these companies risk being shut out of future Somali energy concessions which are estimated to hold large untapped reserves along with what he described as 'legal action' the group’s lawyers would pursue.
"They should deal directly with Somalia, appropriating these blocks from the rightful owner is not in the interest of these otherwise innovative and successful oil companies."
The lobby group has stated it is planning legal action against Kenya and the oil companies.
"We are not asking for compliance on a matter of dispute, this isn’t a dispute, it’s a violation of Somalia's international boundaries established by an international law of which Kenya is a signatory. We will file court proceedings against those involved in the coming weeks at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in Hamburg, Germany."
He continues on saying it is in Kenya and the oil company’s best interest to cease allocating offshore blocks that rightfully belong to Somalia.
"We will continue to take the matter to the highest courts, any attempt at illegally exploiting Somalia’s energy resources will be met with full opposition from us and our partners."
The lobby group has noted the total area of Somali offshore territory that is being illegally sold by Kenya and purchased by the four oil companies is approximately 116,000 square kilometers, an area about the size of Greece.
By. Abdillahi Mohamud : firstname.lastname@example.org