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The Solomon Islands is a country in the South Pacific comprising 6 main islands and over 900 smaller ones northeast of Australia and northwest of Vanuatu. The North Solomon Islands are part of Papua New Guinea.

Melanesians arrived 30,000 years ago followed by Austronesians after 4000 BC. In 1568 Spanish sailors visited but there was sparse European contact with the locals who were reported to be headhunters. In the 19th century islanders feared blackbirding (kidnapping as labourers for plantations). Consequently in 1883 the UK declared the southern Solomons to be the British Solomon Islands Protectorate to curb this trade. Nearby islands were added, apart from Buka and Bougainville in German New Guinea.

A plantation economy developed. During World War 2 most Europeans evacuated but hidden coastwatchers provided intelligence and the islands saw fierce fighting, notably the Battle of Guadalcanal.

After the war local councils were created and in 1975 the islands were renamed the Solomon Islands. Self-rule was followed by independence in 1978 but since then there has been persistent ethnic tension, in particular between natives of Guadalcanal and settlers from Malaita and also from China.

The state has never been fully unified and the population depends on subsistence farming and fishing.

The Solomons consist of nearly 1000 islands including Choiseul, the Shortland Islands, the New Georgia Islands, Santa Isabel, the Russell Islands, the Florida Islands, Malaita, Guadalcanal, Sikaiana, Maramasike, Ulawa, Uki, Makira, Santa Ana, Rennell and Bellona, the Santa Cruz Islands, Tikopia, Anuta, and Fatutaka.

The volcanic islands are rocky and steep with fringing reefs and limited continental shelf so that they dip steeply directly onto oceanic basement. They lie along the complex oblique collision boundary of the Pacific tectonic plate, subducting under the Indo-Australian plate.

This geology is not suitable for the generation and accumulation of commercial volumes of oil and gas and Solomon Islands has no indigenous oil or gas resources, either onshore or offshore. Globalshift believes it is very unlikely to achieve any production in the future. No exploration wells have ever been drilled in the country.

The islands are rich in undeveloped mineral resources.

SOLOMON ISLANDS

Map and National Flag

AUSTRALASIA

Banana flower

Australasia

Solomon Islands

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News

Oil and gas summary

Capital

Population

Land area (sq kms)

Oil prod (000s b/d)

Gas prod (bcm/yr)

Oil cons (000s b/d)

Gas cons (bcm/yr)

Statistics

Apia

0.18 mm

2,842

None

None

1.1

None

Brief history of the country

Solomon Islands is a monarchy with a parliamentary system. The UK monarch is head of state represented by the Governor-General chosen by Parliament for a 5-year term.

The unicameral parliament has 50 members, elected for 4-year terms. The head of government is the Prime Minister, elected by Parliament, who chooses the cabinet.

There is no department of government in Solomon Islands specifically responsible for oil and gas resources.

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