Gulfsands Unable to Get Extension for its Fes Agreement Onshore Morocco

Middle East and North Africa-focused independent oil firm Gulfsands Petroleum announced Friday that it has been unable to achieve a further extension to its Fes Petroleum Agreement in Morocco.

Gulfsands said that the extension period of the Fes Agreement – covering the Fes area, onshore Morocco, where it had been targeting prospective resources of some 478 million – expired Sept. 24. The company submitted a request to Morocco's Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines (ONHYM) to extend the Fes Agreement for a further six months to allow it to continue a farm-out process that was underway but without success.

The failure to secure an extension means that Gulfsands has forgeited a $5-million bank guarantee that had been held on condition that a minimum work program was completed. The company said that some 214 miles of 2D seismic data acquisition, 37 square miles of 3D seismic and the drilling of three wells remain outstanding, according to the agreed work program.

Gulfsands pointed out that it had already written down $22.1 million of costs directly related to the Fes Agreement at the end of June.

Gulfsands Chairman Alastair Beardsall commented in a company statement:
"We are disappointed not to have been given an extension to progress our discussions with potential farm-in partners. The geology within the Fes area is very complex; only recently have we been able to interpret the re-processed 2D seismic data acquired in early 2014 and begin the process of identifying potential drill-ready prospects, unfortunately we have run out of time to continue the exploration program."

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