Country Listing

Somalia Table of Contents



Somalia relied principally on domestic wood and charcoal and on imported petroleum to meet its energy needs. Attempts to harness the power of the Jubba River at the proposed Baardheere Dam had not come to fruition as of early 1992. Electrical utilities had been state owned since 1970, when foreign-owned enterprises were nationalized. Throughout the country, about eighty different oil-fired thermal and diesel power plants relied on imported petroleum. With aid from Finland, new plants were constructed in the Chisimayu and Baidoa areas in the mid-1980s.

Somalia relied on foreign donors (first the Soviet Union and then Saudi Arabia) to meet its petroleum needs. In the late 1970s, Iraq helped Somalia build a refinery at Jasiira, northeast of Baraawe, that had a capacity of 10,000 barrels a day. But when the Iran-Iraq War broke out in 1980, deliveries were suspended, and Somalia again required refined oil imports. As of mid-1989, Somalia's domestic requirements were again being met by this refinery, but deliveries of Iraqi crude oil were erratic. In May 1989, Somalia signed an agreement with the Industrial Export, Import, and Foreign Trade Company of Romania by which the company was to construct an oil refinery on the outskirts of Mogadishu. The project was to cost US$500 million and result in a refining capacity of 200,000 barrels per day. Because of events in Romania and Somalia, the refinery project had not materialized as of early 1992.

Throughout the 1980s, various international oil companies explored for oil and natural gas deposits in Somalia. In October 1991, the World Bank and the UN Development Programme announced the results of its hydrocarbon study in the countries bordering the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. The study indicated the potential for oil and gas in northern Somalia was good. In view of the civil war in Somalia following the fall of Siad Barre, however, various foreign oil exploration plans were canceled.

A successful innovation was the completion of a wind energy utilization project. Four wind turbines, each rated at 50 kilowatts, were embedded in the Mogadishu electrical grid. In 1988 these turbines produced 699,420 kilowatt hours of energy. Total electric energy produced in 1988, the latest year for which figures were available in early 1992, was 257 million kilowatt hours. Five self-contained wind energy conversion systems in rural centers also were planned, but as of May 1992 there was no information that these had been built.