Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil are considering a return to Somalia ahead of an oil block bid round later this year, Reuters reported.

The Somali Ministry of Petroleum revealed that an agreement was signed in Amsterdam on June 21 to settles issues relating to surface rentals and other obligations on offshore blocks.

The agreement settles issues relating to surface rental fees of $1.7m from 1990 to 2008 on five offshore blocks under a concession agreement, as per the Financial Times.

Shell and Exxon Mobil previously had a joint venture (JV) on five offshore blocks in Somalia. However, conflicts and instability led to the suspension of exploration and development activities.

Somalia hopes to allocate 15 offshore blocks with a potential bid date scheduled for November 2019 and plans to begin oil production by 2027.

The 15 blocks cover 75,000 square kilometers and contain around 30 billion barrels of crude oil.