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CEPSA plots Moroccan expansion

Morocco will be the site of a new Cepsa service station business, following an agreement with a local company.

Spanish energy company Cepsa is planning expansion in Morocco with the development of a service station business in collaboration with Moroccan company Derhem Holding.

The integrated downstream business would be run through a joint venture between the two, with an aim of a 15% market share and 100 points of sale within five years.

Madrid-headquartered Cepsa is owned by Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, although reports suggest that an initial public offering (IPO) is imminent.

It marks a new level of expansion for the company, as while it has operations in North and South America, Asia, Europe and Africa, it will be the first time that it has a distribution business outside of Europe. Its existing presence in Morocco has been focused on selling to other distributors and marketing its products at service stations, while in Algeria and Kenya it has exploration and production operations.

Cepsa began production at its first natural gas field, in Wilaya de Adrar in Algeria, in March this year, in collaboration with Sonatrach and Total. The company already had two oil fields in Algeria’s Berkine basin, operated jointly with Sonatrach.

The company has been advised in the development of the project by lawyers from international law firm Dentons, led by Morocco managing partner and corporate lawyer Patrick Larrivé and including mergers and acquisitions (M&A) of counsel Benoit De Monval and associate Zakia Jabri-Abbadi.

It comes shortly after Italian energy company Eni sold a 20% stake in Egyptian offshore fields to Mubadala’s oil and gas subsidiary Mubadala Petroleum. Eni recently announced increased production and exploration in Angola and Mozambique and has also partnered with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to improve access to sustainable energy in several African countries.

Moroccan renewable energy company Gaia Energy recently joined forces with the International Finance Corporation, part of the World Bank Group, to create a wind energy development platform.

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