“We are convinced of the Moroccan potential in hydrocarbons, given its geographical position, the area of exploration, diversified prospects, recent discoveries in neighboring countries …”. The remarks are those of Aziz Rabbah, Minister of Energy, Mines and Sustainable Development at the 2nd Moroccan summit of oil and gas which continues its work until February 8 in Marrakesh.
Organized by the National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines (ONHYM) in collaboration with IN-VR Oil & Gas, the event is an opportunity to discuss key issues related to oil and gas exploration in Morocco, the onshore potential and offshore of the Atlantic coast and the Mediterranean, but also take stock of investment opportunities, as well as African energy issues.
In fact, several ministers from African countries, experts in the oil and gas industry made the trip. An opportunity for the ONHYM to present its balance sheet and its ambitions. “Morocco has a wide range of exploration opportunities, offering a great geological diversity. But to harness this potential requires cross-border partnerships, investments and a commitment to innovation,” says ONHYM CEO Amina Benkhadra.
On the investment side, the sector has accumulated by the end of 2018, nearly 27.5 billion MAD of which more than 90% covered by foreign companies. To date, 70 research permits and 10 concessions have been awarded to international oil companies. A total of 351 wells were drilled. It must be said that during the last 5 years, the oil industry in Morocco has taken another step with new discoveries and major exploration efforts by the Office.
And the efforts have paid off. Between 2017 and 2018, companies and oil groups acquired 19,614 km² of 3D seismic as well as 4,597 km of 2D seismic. They also completed thirteen exploration wells, nine of which were in the Gharb Basin. Seven of these wells resulted in gas discoveries. On the potential side, the office and its partners have identified and updated many promising prospects, says Benkhadra.
Among the major partners, the British firm Sound Energy and Shlumberger in Tendrara (Oriental) for gas. A production concession was awarded to them following the discovery of a commercial gas accumulation and the marketing should start in 2021.
In the Gharb Basin, SDX Energy has recently highlighted several commercial discoveries of gas. In Essaouira, the latest drilling revealed gas accumulations in the Triassic and Jurassic and which must be confirmed by additional work … Nevertheless, much remains to be done in onshore, the deep objectives have not yet been tested, especially in the Rifain area and around the Atlas belt. Just as for the offshore segment.
However, the presence of hydrocarbon deposits and levels of source rocks have been detected all along the Moroccan Atlantic margin. Today, seven wells have been drilled in the offshore segment of Agadir and two more wells for the Mediterranean region.
“Morocco also shares many geological similarities with the world’s largest producing deposits, and all of this points to an undiscovered, unexplored potential,” Benkhadra says. That’s why ONHYM leads promotional campaigns around the world all year long.