Morocco Launches Tender For Offshore Exploration
Morocco opened an international tender for oil exploration and exploitation in an offshore area south of the capital Rabat on November 27th.
On offer are licenses covering exploration and exploitation in one or several blocks in the Rabat-Safi offshore zone, measuring 12,000 square miles. The closing date for the bidding process is April 30, 2001.
The state-run ONAREP had given two separate licenses for seismic analysis and drilling to U.K. oil firm Lasmo plc and U.S. Vanco Energy earlier in November for two offshore areas.
The areas include 5,231 square miles off Ras Tafelney, near the Atlantic port of Essaouira, and 7,850 square miles near Safi.
Morocco first discovered crude and natural gas deposits in August in the eastern Talsinnt area, about 125 miles from the Algerian border. Talsinnt’s reserves have been estimated at about 1.5-2 billion barrels of oil equivalent, representing between 25 and 30 years of Morocco’s energy consumption.
The North African country, which consumes between 60 and 70 million barrels crude and natural gas a year, imports about $800 million of oil annually, mostly from Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq.
A new hydrocarbons law, adopted earlier this year, provides substantial incentives and tax breaks aimed at luring foreign investment to the country.