Norsk Hydro Signs Moroccan Exploration Contract

Northwest Safi, Morocco
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Norsk Hydro signed an investigation contract on Friday for a license offshore Morocco. The license, Northwest Safi, covers an area of 6,542 square kilometers with a water depth that ranges from 300 to 3,000 meters.

The contract has a duration of 12 months. The tasks covered by the contract include geological studies, seismic reprocessing and collation of 2D seismic data.

"We are pleased that we have signed this contract. There is no oil production in this region yet, but there have been positive results from exploration of other basins along the West African margin, where modern technology has been applied in the deep waters," says Hans-Helmut Berchelmann, head of the New Areas unit in Business Development in Hydro.

An exciting area
The contract that was signed on Friday gives Hydro the opportunity to enter an exploration contract at a later stage. This would include collation of more seismic data and drilling obligations.

Amendments to the petroleum legislation have resulted in better general conditions and fiscal frame conditions in Morocco. This has attracted oil companies such as Shell, Petronas, Repsol, Conoco-Phillips and Vanco. During the course of next year, between three and four deep-sea wells will be drilled in the basins that have been explored so far. The positive results from studies in the sea area off Mauritania have particularly caught the oil companies' attention.

"Hydro has established a partnership with ONAREP (the national Moroccan oil company), and looks forward to a beneficial cooperation in this early exploration phase," says Berchelmann.

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