Vanco Energy of Houston and London-based Lasmo plc deepened their commitment to find oil and gas offshore Morocco by signing exploration permits with the national oil company ONAREP.
The Safi Haute Mer permit and the adjoining Ras Tafelney permit will convert from reconnaissance to exploration permits.
The companies committed to acquire 3-D seismic and drill one well on each permit within the first three-year period.
A 3,000-square kilometer 3-D seismic program is scheduled to begin in late March 2001, concentrating on the toe thrust trend crossing both blocks.
These are the first permits awarded since Shell was assigned a concession earlier this year.
Vanco will operate both blocks. The awards came as ONAREP promoted its first licensing round offshore northwest Morocco; the round is expected to close April 30, 2001.
Both the Safi Haute Mer and Ras Tafelney permits were acquired in 1998 as exclusive reconnaissance permits with the objective to explore the Essaouira Basin.
Vanco officials said it had little seismic to go on but understood Morocco's regional geology, which correlated with that off Nova Scotia.
After acquiring and interpreting over 4960-km / 3,100 miles of 2-D seismic in the last two years, Vanco has identified at least 35 leads that could produce significant amounts of hydrocarbons for Morocco.
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)