Representatives of Somali regions have reacted with caution to suggestions from the federal Petroleum Ministry that ExxonMobil and Shell may return to offshore exploration.

They claim such predictions are premature and that a commercial, legal and constitutional framework is still lacking.

“These and other oil companies should wait until work on legal reform is completed and a referendum is conducted to approve a new constitution," a senior advisor on petroleum to the government of the semi-autonomous Somali province of Puntland told Upstream.