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Chariot Becomes Latest Firm to Bet on Offshore Morocco

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Chariot Oil & Gas announced Thursday that it has acquired equity interests in two exploration blocks offshore Morocco. The company said that it will have 75 percent ownership and operatorship of two offshore licenses – Loukos and Casasblanca/Safi – from Maghreb Petroleum Exploration in return for taking on work commitments and obligations in the initial exploration phase of each license.

The Moroccan Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines will hold the remaining 25 percent of the licenses.

The transaction is just the latest in a string of deals involving licenses offshore Morocco, where independents Cairn Energy and Genel have snapped up acreage in recent months. In August, Cairn announced it was farming into the Foum Draa block, which is adjacent to its existing Cap Juby Maritime license, while Genel acquired a 60-percent interest in the Sidi Moussa block.

According to Chariot's statement Thursday, the Loukos license is approximately 740 square miles in size and extends from the coast to some 30 miles offshore with water depth ranging between 16 and 360 feet. The Casablanca/Safi license is around 1,345 square miles and is similarly situated to Loukos in terms of its extent offshore.

Following approval of the deal, the firm will be required to reprocess around 515 miles of 2D seismic data within the Loukos license and 745 miles of seismic data within the Casablanca/Safi license within a six-month exploration period. Once complete, Chariot will have the option to move forward into further exploration phases.

The move marks a shift in direction by Chariot, which recently suffered a disappointing result exploring in pre-salt layers offshore Namibia. In September the firm reported that no commercial hydrocarbons were found at its Kabeljou exploration well in the Orange basin.

"In line with our strategy, Chariot has continued to seek out under-explored highly prospective opportunities with the intention of maturing them into drillable oil prospects. The Loukos and Casablanca areas have been of interest to Chariot for some time and we are pleased to have these additional assets, which we consider to hold significant potential, as part of our broader West African portfolio," said Chariot CEO Paul Welch in Thursday's statement. 



A former engineer, Jon is an award-winning editor who has covered the technology, engineering and energy sectors since the mid-1990s. Email Jon at jmainwaring@rigzone.com

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