Morocco Sees Energy Boost with Circle But Wants and Needs More


This month’s announced completion of the Sebou (DRJ)-Kenitra pipeline by Circle Oil signals the Irish company’s continuing focus on Morocco despite weak interest in the country from many other international firms. The natural gas pipeline, which spans 55kms and has a capacity of 23.5 million standard cubic feet per day, connects the country’s Rharb Basin with consumers across the country. Allowing for greater connectivity between the efforts of Circle’s wholly owned subsidiary, Circle Oil Maroc Ltd, and local customers, the pipeline was hailed by the company as a positive next step in promoting projects in the Lalla Mimouna and Sebou permits. Circle’s local partners hold a 75 percent stake in the pipeline, with the remaining 25 percent controlled by Morocco’s National Office for Hydrocarbons and Mining (ONHYM).

Despite strong efforts by the ONHYM recently to garner further international attention to oil and gas efforts in Morocco, including the promotion of 22 new blocks for development in the final months of 2011 and support for offshore exploration investment, many companies have kept their distance. Most recently, the ONHYM has sought to promote the country’s offshore area as potentially similar to wells off the coast of Nova Scotia, suggesting that since the areas once sat next to each other millions of years ago, they likely share geological characteristics.

However, Circle has sustained its local presence with their efforts in the Rharb Basin, a 60 percent interest in the Oulad N’zala Permit Concession and a new push towards exploiting the country’s shale projects in Tarafaya over the last year.

The Sebou (DRJ)-Kenitra Pipeline announcement comes after the successful completion of 2-D and 3-D seismic acquisition programs in the Lalla Mimouna and Sebou permits, signaling further intent to expand the company’s local presence. According to a company release, the pipeline has been connected to seven of the area’s ten wells with the potential to produce, most of which date back to drilling efforts in 2008-9 and 2010-2011. The eight-inch pipeline is currently under-going pressure testing and is expected to be online by early February.

Image: Arabian Oil and Gas

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