Hargeisa, Somaliland — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 22 August 2011 – Chinese petroleum firm PetroTrans is to carry out extension works to the port of Berbera, in the wake of signing a transaction agreement with the government of the breakaway enclave of Somalia.
The Horn of Africa has been attracting increased investment in the area of exploration by foreign oil firms, due to its proximity to east Africa, where oil has been discovered in Uganda and natural gas found in Tanzania.
“Redevelopment of Berbera Port to make it a gateway to East Africa is the major project of the framework of an agreement signed by the government of Somaliland and PetroTrans Company,” Somaliland foreign minister Mohamed Abdillahi Omer told Reuters.
"The full agreement has not been finalised as the financial and technical details will only be settled in the next few weeks.” he added.
In addition to extension of the port, other projects will be carried out under the terms of the deal that was signed when the Somaliland President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo visited China last week.
They include laying pipelines for natural gas and fuel to Ethiopia. A refinery will also be built at the port, as well as a road linking Berbera to Wajale, a town on the Ethiopia-Somaliland border.
PetroTrans has signed a separate agreement with the Ethiopians.
Somaliland, which has been contributing to the fight against piracy off the Somali coast, hopes the deal will create thousands of jobs, raise its profile and attract more investments into the region.
It declared independence from Somalia in 1991.