Morocco will soon issue tenders for oil drilling in offshore areas between the capital of Rabat and the city of Safi 350 kilometers to the south. Amina Benkhadra, director-general of the Moroccan oil company (ONAREP), told the Daily Economist that she will travel to London and Houston next October to present Morocco's oil drilling program to potential investors.
The official said Morocco has between 50,000 and 520,000 square kilometers of sedimentary basins. Economic observers in the Moroccan capital city believe that these basins offer promising prospects for oil companies.
According to Benkhadra, this oil potential remains largely under-exploited. "We are keen on preparing all necessary studies to be able to progress and to propose these studies to international oil companies," she said. "Morocco's priority is to complete these studies and then implement an aggressive promotion campaign."
Oil and gas reserves at Talsint are assessed at 1.5 to 2 billion barrels and the Sidi Belkacem I well alone has a 100,000-barrel reserve. Lone Star Energy Corp., an offshoot of the US Skidmore Inc., will exploit three sites in Talsint over 6,000 square km under an accord reached with Morocco.
Besides Talsint, the U.S. firm has licenses to drill in Loukous, Labrouj, Safi, and Essaouira, Atlantic regions over an area of 37,000 square km. Reserves in these areas are estimated at 10 to 12 billion barrels before drilling.
Morocco, which imports 50 million barrels per year, will be able to have a self-sufficiency of 22 years, with consumption increasing by 5 to 7 percent, the minister said, adding the exploitation of the Talsint oil field will start in less than three years.
Lone Star is bound to Morocco by an investment contract of $30 to 35 million. But the situation has changed with the discovery of the Talsint fields and the amount is expected to increase to $150 or $160 million. –(Albawaba-MEBG)
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