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State power and water utility Office National de l’Electricité et de l’Eau Potable (ONEE) will launch tenders this year for technical studies for the construction of two new 300MW pumped storage facilities, El Menzel II, located on the upper Sebou River, and Ifahsa, in the north of the country. The daily Le Matin reported that El Menzel II would be developed at a site 35km from Sefrou, while Ifahsa would be located on the right bank of the Oued Laou River, about 14km from the town of Chefchaouen.

Morocco
Subscriber

AIM-listed Sound Energy said on 18 April that a drilling rig was on the way to the Sidi Moktar licence, where it plans to re-enter two wells drilled by the previous licenceholder, Longreach Oil & Gas. Longreach discovered gas on the licence in 2014 but ran out of money before it could test the wells.The Sidi Moktar licences cover 2,700km2 in the Essaouira Basin of central Morocco close to existing infrastructure, including the state-owned Office Cherifien des Phosphates plant.

Morocco
Free

American and European businesses will remain key players across the continent, but their dominance is in retreat. The full effects of the global financial crisis have taken years to reveal themselves – not least in the impact of stagnant wages and widening social divisions on the politics of western economies – but have been reflected in western banks pulling back, in some places to be replaced by Moroccan and South African institutions.

Morocco
Issue 343 - 31 March 2017

Morocco: Few details on Samir bidders

Subscriber

Little is known of the bidders to take over the bankrupt oil refiner Société Anonyme Marocaine de l’Industrie de Raffinage (Samir)’s refinery complex at Mohammedia as the complicated process of unravelling the company’s affairs continues. A court in Rabat has granted an extra month for the liquidation process, court-appointed trustee Mohammed El Krimi said on 23 March. Krimi has previously said he received some 20 offers from foreign investors before the 10 March deadline to bid for the 200,000 b/d refinery, which was shut down last August and placed in liquidation.

Morocco
Subscriber

AIM-listed Chariot Oil & Gas has been awarded a 75% interest and operatorship of the new Kenitra Offshore exploration permit and has launched a seismic survey in pursuit of a Lower Cretaceous play which spreads from the adjacent Mohammedia permit into the Kenitra acreage. Kenitra, which covers 1,400km2 in water depths ranging from 200 metres to 1,500 metres, was formerly part of the Eni-operated Rabat Deep Offshore exploration permits I-VI (AE 338/13).

Morocco
Issue 341 - 02 March 2017

KfW lines up new loans and guarantees

Subscriber

In the latest round of its substantial financing for Moroccan energy projects, German development bank KfW has received approval from the Moroccan Ministry of Finance for guarantee and loan agreements with Office National de l’Electricité et de l’Eau Potable (ONEE) and Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (Masen) to be backed by a Moroccan Treasury guarantee. The ONEE facility comprises guarantees to support two loans for a total €130m ($138m) for the state utility’s 1GW integrated wind power programme.

Morocco
Subscriber

Sound Energy has finalised agreements to acquire the assets of Morocco’s Oil & Gas Investment Fund (OGIF) in eastern Morocco, and has started drilling the TE-8 appraisal well. OGIF will receive 272m shares, or 28.8% of Sound’s enlarged share capital. The deal gives Sound an additional 20% in the Tendrara Block, the right to increase its Meridja stake to 75% and the right to acquire 75% in relinquished areas of Tendrara.

Morocco
Issue 340 - 16 February 2017

SDX plans for Circle assets

Subscriber

SDX Energy sees more acquisition opportunities in Egypt following its purchase of Circle Oil’s assets, as other companies look to reduce their exposure or pull out altogether. SDX, which listed on London’s AIM market in May 2016, plans to spud a well this month on Egypt’s South Disouq licence followed by further exploration drilling in Egypt and Morocco (AE 339/14).

Egypt | Morocco
Issue 340 - 16 February 2017

Morocco: Nakkouch leaves Nareva

Free

Ahmed Nakkouch, founding head of Morocco’s biggest private developer and a former head of state utility Office National de l’Electricité, is retiring from Nareva. He will be replaced by 46-year-old Aymane Taud, a director of Nareva’s parent company Société Nationale d’Investissement (SNI) since November 2006. Taud was appointed head of SNI’s fisheries companies Marona and Arpem in mid-2015. He came to SNI after heading BMCE Capital Conseil.

Morocco
Issue 339 - 03 February 2017

Morocco/Gabon: Mazagan relinquished

Subscriber

Freeport-McMoRan Oil & Gas and Pura Vida Energy have decided not to enter into the next phase of the Mazagan permit and have agreed to withdraw from the block. Freeport will give Pura Vida $7m in cash and a quantity of drilling equipment as settlement for the second well obligation under their January 2013 farm-in agreement. A first well drilled on the permit in 2015 failed to find hydrocarbons (AE 307/18). Pura Vida said it intended to focus on its Nkembe Block offshore Gabon, which contains the Loba discovery, and had shipped the equipment there.

Gabon | Morocco
Issue 339 - 02 February 2017

SDX buys Circle assets

Subscriber

SDX Energy has completed the acquisition of Circle Oil’s assets in Morocco and Egypt for $30m (AE 338/12). SDX has acquired the producing Sebou permit and the Lalla Mimouna permit in Morocco, and the Al Amir and Geyad permits in Egypt’s Gulf of Suez. The acquisition was funded by a share placing on London’s AIM market that raised $40m on 24 January.

Egypt | Morocco
Subscriber

Having secured new equity finance and access to local debt markets, Sound Energy expects to receive a concession for its initial development in the Tendrara-Meridja Basin by Q4 2017 or Q1 2018, and will then start drilling 18 development wells to produce gas for sale into the local market from Q3 2019. The AIM-listed company sees this as an initial phase in its Moroccan operation. Speaking in Milan on 26 January, managing director Luca Madeddu said Sound had identified three other areas for possible future development.

Morocco
Subscriber

Egypt-focused SDX Energy has signed non-binding heads of terms with Circle Oil to acquire the troubled company’s Egypt and Morocco assets. The agreement, announced on 11 January, has a 30-day exclusivity period. “Circle’s assets present an attractive opportunity to add material production and reserves at an attractive price,” SDX chief executive Paul Welch said in a statement. Circle has the producing Sebou permit and the Lalla Mimouna permit in Morocco, and the Al Amir and Geyad permits in Egypt’s Gulf of Suez, but has run into substantial financial difficulties due to payment arrears built up by Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation.

Egypt | Morocco
Subscriber

A recent crackdown on large-scale fuel smuggling on both sides of the Algerian-Moroccan border is essential to tackle contraband sales that have deformed markets in Algeria, which is having to import refined products and tackle subsidies, and in Morocco, which is losing tax and other revenues. There has been recent progress: the Casablanca daily L’Economiste reported from the kingdom’s north-eastern region in December on a mushrooming of legitimate service stations selling petrol and other fuel supplied by official sources – a reflection of a concerted crackdown on the smuggling networks that have long fuelled the region, most notably affecting Algeria’s province of Tlemcen and Morocco’s Berkane province and Oujda-Angad prefecture.

Algeria | Morocco
Issue 338 - 19 January 2017

Morocco: Eni takes over Rabat Deep

Subscriber

Eni has taken over as operator of Rabat Deep Offshore permits I-VI following approval from the Moroccan authorities. Chariot Oil & Gas announced in March 2016 that it had signed an agreement for Eni to take 40% (AE 326/13, 321/9). Chariot retains 10%, while 25% is held by Woodside and the state Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines has a 25% carried interest. Eni has acquired operatorship and a 40% equity interest from Chariot in return for a capped carry on drilling the JP-1 prospect, as well as a carry on other geological and administrative costs.

Morocco