"I am delighted we have agreed an initial roadmap with the Shell/Exxon joint venture. This gives us confidence in (the)ability to further explore any offshore hydrocarbon potential," minister Abdirashid Mohamed Ahmed said in a statement.
Last month Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo signed petroleum legislation into law to help open up a new frontier market in Africa as the strife-torn country hopes new petroleum finds will help transform its economy.
Seismic data suggests there could be significant oil reserves offshore.
In October Shell and Mobil, which had a joint venture on five offshore blocks in Somalia prior to the toppling of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in the early 1990s, agreed to pay the government $1.7 million for historic leasing of the blocks.
Exxon Mobil and Shell were not immediately available to comment.
(Reporting by Wendell Roelf; editing by David Evans)