Large oil and gas deposits have been found in the southeastern Talsint region near the Algerian border, Moroccan King Mohammed VI announced late Sunday. No details were given in the speech commemorating the 1953 exile of King Mohammed V, broadcast on state television and radio.
According to informal sources, a US company, Skidmore, found the oil and gas fields and moved massive amounts of equipment to the Talsint region to determine the full potential. The Moroccan energy and mining ministry has accorded the company three exploration licences for an area totalling 6,000 square kilometres (2,300 square miles). The initial prospecting fee was set at 50 million dollars, but that will be increased 10-fold if the field proves to be exploitable.
The estimated production of the field, before the king's announcement, was expected to be worth between 500 million and 800 million dollars per year. – (AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2000
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