Somalia - Exploring for deep groundwater

The difference between life and death for about three billion people is a piece of soap and a splash of water. Soap is a matter of logistics; water is a different matter. Traditional water exploration and exploitation is severely limited regarding aspects such as depth, resources and technology. At the same time, the oil sector is happily drilling thousands of meters, often in reservoirs with abundant freshwater.


Approximately 95 % of the population in Somalia uses shallow groundwater for human and agriculture consumption. However, less than 45% have access to safe drinking water. On the other hand, Somalia has been the focus of different oil and gas exploration campaigns. To date, about 80 oil and gas wells have been drilled and more than 40.000 km of seismic lines have been acquired.

Funded by the Norwegian ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ruden AS is currently assessing the potential for deep groundwater in Somalia on a national scale. Hydrological and surface geological data is being used in a systematic way to estimate water budgets at a fine resolution. At the same time, data that was previously acquired by the oil industry is being analyzed allowing for freshwater identification at depths ranging between 500m to 2 Km.

Image 2 Groundwater Somalia

The image above shows the shallow aquifers penetrated by shallow water wells (in red), in contrast to the potential large amounts of water in the deep aquifer that can only be seen with wells drilled by the oil industry (in blue).

The project is being developed by interpreting existing oil and gas industry data from Somalia, integrated with Remote Sensing and data from SWALIM (Somalia Water and Land Information Management). Thanks to the participation of Schlumberger, the project has access to Petrel and Techlog software for 3D modelling, seismic and petrophysics interpretation.

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