After settling a financial dispute at the end of October with Shell and Exxon Mobil, the Somali Ministry of Petroleum announced on Monday 2 March the signing of an agreement with the joint venture made up of the two majors to explore and develop the country’s potential hydrocarbon reserves. « I am delighted that we have agreed on an initial roadmap with the Shell/Exxon joint venture. This reassures us in our ability to further explore any offshore hydrocarbon potential, » said Somali Oil Minister Abdirashid Mohamed Ahmed. The new Petroleum Activities Law was ratified by the Somali Parliament on 8 February, allowing the country to start the licensing cycle. A total of 15 blocks covering 75,000 km2 will be auctioned by the end of this year, with Somalia aiming to extract its first barrels by 2027.