Somalia challenges Kenya over oil blocks

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Somalia’s deputy energy minister, Abdullahi Dool, said contracts awarded for four blocks in deep waters were invalid and the government planned to complain to the United Nations, which oversees maritime border laws.

“We are concerned about the lease of blocks,” Dool told Reuters. “I am sure we will lodge complaints.”

The blocks are among seven awarded by Kenya last week, three of them to Italy’s Eni and one to France’s Total.

They lie in an area long contested by Kenya, East Africa’s biggest economy, and Somalia, wrecked by more than two decades of civil war, split between an interim government and Islamist rebels and serving as the main base for Indian Ocean pirates.

The spat between Kenya and its war-ruined neighbour could complicate the hunt for resources along a part of the East African coastline, rapidly emerging as one of the world’s hottest oil xploration prospects.