Morocco sees the natural gas energy source as an option for the future that guarantees the stability of the national energy supply and favours national progress. The North African country's latest moves in favour of the gas industry are proof of this.
The government led by Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch is focusing its efforts on supporting the natural gas industry, as evidenced by recent reports on the progress of gas projects in different parts of the country, such as the activity of the British company Chariot off the coast of Larache and the latest gas discovery in the Guersif area.
There is a strong national commitment to the entry of international energy companies into the country, after realising more than three years ago that there are large oil and gas reserves in the Kingdom that require extraction by qualified companies.
Gas production in Morocco is of great interest due to the latest extraction technologies that have led to the discovery of new fields in recent years in areas that were previously unnoticed.
Support for gas exploration in the country is a sign of the Moroccan government's long-term plan to consolidate the industry and meet growing domestic energy demand. This has a double positive economic aspect, as it boosts the country's industry, generating jobs and wealth by improving the domestic sector, and also favours the attraction of foreign capital from international companies interested in Morocco's gas industry and the discoveries of this energy resource in the Alawi kingdom.
In this line, the director general of the National Office of Hydrocarbons and Minerals, Amina Benkhadra, announced in a statement broadcast by a media linked to the Official Moroccan Radio and Television Corporation on Friday that the start of gas production is scheduled for 2024 in the Lixus exploration project. "The gas explored will be directed to produce electricity by feeding the stations of Kenitra and Mohammadia or Tahdart and several industries in the region of Kenitra in the north of the country," she said.
Earlier this week, British company Chariot announced a discovery of offshore natural gas off the coast of Larache, a port enclave in northwest Morocco.
Following appraisal and exploration work on the "Anchovy-2" well within the "Anchovy" gas project under the Lixus licence, the British company discovered high-quality gas reserves, as reported by L'Economiste.
Chariot said in an official statement that it had "achieved positive results from drilling operations in the Anchovy 2 field, off the coast of the city of Larache, on the Atlantic waterfront". "The Anchovy-2 well was drilled safely and efficiently to a total measured depth of 2,512 metres by the Stena Don rig in the water," as explained by the British company, which exposed that a full evaluation of the well was conducted through wireline operated logs, including appraisal petrophysical logs, subsurface formation testing, including reservoir pressures and gas sampling, as well as sidewall testing.
"Preliminary interpretation of the data confirms the presence of significant gas accumulations in the appraisal and exploration targets of the Anchovy-2 well, with a calculated net gas layer of more than 100 metres, compared to the previous year's gas layer," the company itself explained and was reported by L'Economiste.
Chariot holds a 75 per cent stake in the Lixus licence in partnership with Morocco's National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines, which holds the remaining 25 per cent. The British company said the gas reserves discovered "exceeded the expectations" it had previously held.
"This is a tremendous result," said Adonis Boroulis, interim CEO of Chariot, highlighting the work done by his company and the Moroccan authorities, which made it possible to drill the second well during a period of significant operational and logistical challenges in the pandemic, as reported by Al-Arab.
Following this announcement, the British company Predator Oil & Gas also discovered a new gas basin in the Guersif region, a territory in the northwest of the country. The British company described these new reserves as "promising".
This discovery was made possible by a re-evaluation of the expansion of the "MOU-1" and "MOU-4" wells. The British brand indicated that, based on this discovery, the relevant tests and evaluations will be carried out during this year to confirm and verify the amount found in the basin. Pedrator Oil & Gas also indicated that with this estimate and the recovery of this new gas "it is likely that the project will be commercially viable".
It is also worth noting that Morocco started receiving bids to complete studies related to the project to develop a giant gas storage station in the port of Mohammedia, as part of a long-term plan to achieve self-sufficiency, in the set of exploration projects carried out by several international companies in the country.
According to Al-Arab, Morocco's domestic gas production is expected to reach 110 million cubic metres this year, with good prospects in the light of the discovery of gas reserves on Moroccan territory.
Within the 2022 budget, the government expects growth in the country's investments in natural gas production, after reaching 265 million dirhams ($29.17 million) last year.
In addition to the economic progress that is projected for Morocco with these developments, Rabat sees natural gas as a clean energy source that supports the country's carbon emission reduction targets, which would help to greatly improve the North African country's environmental situation.
Aziz Akhannouch's government has a plan in place until 2050 to boost the country's energy industry, making it cleaner and helping it to meet national energy demand, thus encouraging energy diversification towards a more sustainable energy sector.
In addition, the government is boosting the activity of energy companies by offering various economic benefits to oil and gas companies that have sought to invest in Morocco. For example, an exemption from corporate tax for a period of ten years was introduced, in addition to other fiscal advantages such as not having to pay VAT, trade tax and other tariffs. Land granted exclusively for the exploration of energy resources has also been offered for sale or lease at very competitive prices.