Morocco To Invest in Offshore Exploration

Morocco's oil refiner Samir will invest up to $40 million in oil exploration over the next several years, a senior company official said on Tuesday. The investment is part of an overall package of 9.5 billion dirhams ($812 million) allocated in a 15-year plan to expand and diversify its activities in Morocco, according to Samir's chairman. "We are confident in Morocco's offshore potential and therefore will continue our exploration for oil and gas in the coming years".

Samir is currently exploring the Atlantic coastal province of Essaouira and onshore Sebou area, jointly with Swedish firms. "The southern Moroccan offshore provinces are promising in oil deposits...This is confirmed by several studies carried out in the past years by state-run ONAREP and foreign firms."

Morocco, which has no oil of its own has granted a dozen foreign firms such as Enterprise Oil and TotalFinaElf licenses for oil exploration in onshore and offshore areas, including the Western Sahara waters.

Samir's plans include the introduction of natural gas in its future consumption and energy production. The company plans to import an estimated 700 million cubic meters of natural gas per year from the Trans-Maghreb Pipeline (TMP) to Samir as part of our overall strategic plan. The TMP carries around nine billion cubic metres of natural gas per year from southern Algerian oilfields to Spain through the northern Moroccan provinces. A pipeline section 25 miles long will be built to link the TMP to the northern oil plant of Sidi Kacem. The plant is a subsidiary of Samir oil complex. The project, which is estimated to cost 440 million dirhams, would be operational by 2005.