The Moroccan State Oil Company, the Office National de Recherches et d'Exploitations Petrolieres (ONAREP), has announced it will start taking bids for oil drilling operations in offshore areas.
The company said oil companies are invited to send 2000 bids from October 30, for oil exploration rights in offshore areas stretching from the capital city of Rabat to the city of Safi (350 km south of the capital).
The round that opens in October will be a first one, and it will close on April 30, 2001.
"The decision to launch a round of bidding at this time is based on the interpretation of seismic results from 7,750 sq. km. that was surveyed earlier this year," said Ms. Amina Benkhadra, ONAREP's director-general.
The seismic data provides good indications of prospective deep-water and shallow-water finds,\' she said. “In addition, we have significantly reduced the tax burden - IHS Energy now ranks the Moroccan fiscal regime among the most attractive in the world. Therefore we look forward to a high level of industry participation in the bidding round."
The available Atlantic ocean drilling area has been divided into the following blocks:
Block 1: 2,700 km2 in shallow water (less than 200 meters water depth);
Block 2: 3,850 km2 in shallow water;
Block 3: 2,750 km2 in shallow water
Block 4: 5,000 km2 in deep water (more than 200 meters water depth);
Block 5: 3,900 km2 in deep water;
Block 6: 4,890 km2 in deep water;
Block 7: 4,000 km2 in deep water;
Block 8: 4,000 km2 in deep water.
Before the opening of bids, ONAREP will host two technical review presentations for interested oil company representatives. These sessions will be held Monday, October 23, 2000, at the Waldorf Meridien Hotel in London, and Thursday, October 26, 2000, at the Doubletree Post Oak Hotel in Houston, USA.
ONAREP said its web site (www.onarep.com) will carry additional information on the tender, including a summary of available data, a brief review of the area offered, and an outline of the terms. All bids must conform to ONAREP's bidding guidelines, which will be available for U.S.$200, when the round opens.
Morocco said in August it had discovered important oil and gas deposits in the southeastern area of Talsint, on the border with oil and gas rich Algeria.
The fields, drilled and exploited by Lone Star Energy Corporation, an offshoot of the US Skidmore Inc. are said to carry 1.5 to 2 billion barrels, and 100,000 barrel of oil reserves at the Sidi Belkacem I well.
Besides Talsint, the US firm has four other 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.
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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