Canadian oil explorer, Horn Petroleum Corporation has begun drilling the Shabeel-1 exploration well, its first well at the Dharoor Block in Puntland in northern Somalia, and the first well drilled in the country for more than 20 years.

Horn Petroleum is preparing to drill down to a maximum depth of 3,800 meters, according to a 16 January press release.

Drilling operations have also commenced on the Shabeel North-1 well with the setting of the 30 inch surface casing and the drilling of a 50 meter pilot hole.

Drilling and evaluation is expected to take 90 days for each wells, as part of the minimum work obligation for the first exploration period for Horn Petroleum’s two production sharing contracts in Somalia.

The 14,384 square kilometre Dharoor block contains an estimated 1.2 billion barrels of oil reserves, while the 21,784 square kilometre Nugaal block contains as much as 4 billion barrels.  Horn Petroleum is the operator of both blocks, with a 60 per cent stake in each.