Somalia has agreed an initial roadmap with a Shell/Exxon joint venture to explore and develop potential offshore oil and gas reserves, the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources said on Monday.
"I am delighted we have agreed an initial roadmap with the Shell/Exxon joint venture. This gives us confidence in (the)ability to further explore any offshore hydrocarbon potential," minister Abdirashid Mohamed Ahmed said in a statement.
Last month Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo signed petroleum legislation into law to help open up a new frontier market in Africa as the strife-torn country hopes new petroleum finds will help transform its economy.
Seismic data suggests there could be significant oil reserves offshore.
In October Shell and Mobil, which had a joint venture on five offshore blocks in Somalia prior to the toppling of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in the early 1990s, agreed to pay the government $1.7 million for historic leasing of the blocks.
Exxon Mobil and Shell were not immediately available to comment.
(Reporting by Wendell Roelf; editing by David Evans)