Range Resources will be pursuing legal action following an article in published by The Age newspaper in Melbourne under the heading "Mining Firm tied to Somali Oil Pirates."
Range Resources will be pursuing legal action following an article in published by The Age newspaper in Melbourne with a headline that read "Mining Firm tied to Somali Oil Pirates."
The West Leederville-based mining exploration group has denied it has any ties to Somali oil pirates and categorically denies the incorrect and defamatory statement that Range "has paid millions of dollars in controversial fees to Somali rebels responsible for a surge in international piracy, including the hijacking this week of an Oil Supertanker."
The company said it can not comprehend how legitimate, disclosed payments to an elected, autonomous government have been described as "fees to Somali rebels, responsible for piracy."
Range also highlighted that the deal with the Puntland Government was not "struck with the Minister of Finance" as the article suggests, instead agreements in place are unanimous Acts of Parliament and were negotiated with the cabinet of the Puntland Government headed by His Excellency, President Hersi.
Full announcement below:
Range Resources Clarifies Inaccurate Newspaper Article.
Range Resources Limited (ASX:RRS, AIM: RRL) ("Range" or "the Company"), the oil and gas explorer with assets in Puntland, Somalia, has been made aware of a recent misleading and defamatory "news" article published by The Age newspaper in Australia under the heading "Mining Firm tied to Somali Oil Pirates."
In response to the various incorrect statements and claims made in the article, the Company would like to make the following specific comments:
- Neither the Company, nor any of its Directors, have any ties to "Somali Oil Pirates". Further, Range categorically denies the incorrect and defamatory statement that the Company "has paid millions of dollars in controversial fees to Somali rebels responsible for a surge in international piracy, including the hijacking this week of an Oil Supertanker" The Company will be pursuing all legal options with regards to the article. The Company
- The article suggests that the current government of Puntland is disputed. It was elected by tribal clans representing the Puntland region and an election process is currently underway in Puntland with regards to the election of a new parliament and president. In the Company's opinion, to suggest that the government is disputed implies that the Puntland people do not have the right to appoint parliamentary members who then elect the president of Puntland. Page 1 of 3
- As stated in Range's last quarterly (31 October 2008) in respect of the current piracy problem;
i. The Puntland government and His Excellency President Hersi are heavily involved in discussing proposed security options which adds, in Range's opinion, significant diplomatic credibility and recognition to Puntland.
ii. A focussed effort (as proposed by the European Economic Community) on combating piracy will hopefully provide further assistance and benefits to Puntland through joint security initiatives which may ultimately provide greater stability to the region in the medium term.
Further, the Puntland Government is involved in a number of joint initiatives with foreign countries (including France, Germany and the USA) to assist with combating the piracy problem. The Supertanker referred to in the article was captured some 800km off the coast of Kenya, (southeast of Mombasa).
- The article refers to the actions of former Transitional Federal Government ("TFG") Prime Minister Gedi who resigned over a year ago due to conflicts within the TFG. As announced by Range to ASX during the last 12 months, the Puntland Government is the controlling government of the region:
"The Puntland Government remains fully committed to its existing agreement with Africa Oil and Range Resources, covering concessions in the Dharoor and Nogal Valley of Puntland. The concession agreements covering those areas remain in effect and are supported by the full force of the laws of Puntland. This statement by the Puntland Government is intended to dispel uncertainty‐surrounding control of natural resources in Puntland. The Puntland Government will fiercely protect its rights in order to preserve ownership of its natural resources for the people of Puntland"
As clearly defined in a Puntland Government Policy statement (www.puntlandgovt.com) "Until such time an all inclusive federal constitution is effected and state governments, convinced with the sharing of power and resources are instituted, Puntland's support of the TFG should not be interpreted in any manner that Puntland is part of the TFG‐ Puntland shall remain independent for its laws, policies and interests."
Ministry of Energy and Minerals (August 2008)
- Range's deal with the Puntland Government was not "struck with the Minister of Finance" as the article suggests. Both the Contract of Work and the Production Sharing Agreements in place are unanimous Acts of Parliament and were negotiated with the cabinet of the Puntland Government headed by His Excellency, President Hersi.
- The reference to the Victorian policemen having links to the Company needs to be clarified. One performed a brief consulting service (security assessment) in 2005, the other in 2007/8 (strategic assessment). The Company notes that the stated Ethical Standards Department investigation was completed and allegations against Mr Langdon were found to be unsubstantiated.
- Range does not have a mysterious joint venture partner as the article suggests. Canadian listed oil and gas company, Africa Oil Corporation (TSXV:AOI) is the Company's joint venture partner on its two onshore oil concessions in Puntland.