Status of natural gas discoveries and production in Morocco

The results of the exploration, production, commercialization and natural gas development projects were presented by ONHYM to the House Infrastructure, Energy, Mines and Environment Commission.

Apparently Natural gas discoveries in Morocco are concentrated in three basins. Those of Gharb and Essaouira (Meskala) are operational while those of Tendrara are under development. Evaluation of the economic viability of the offshore Gharb Basin (Lixus Zone opposite Larache) is ongoing.

The Gharb Basin

The Gharb is one of the basins that has seen significant exploration activity resulting in the discovery and exploitation of multiple deposits. This is done through a partnership between ONHYM with a 25% stake and SDX Energy with a 75% stake.

It includes the permits of Lalla Mimouna Sud, Western Gharb, Central Sebou and Moulay Bouchta Ouest. Drilling was conducted in these areas between 2000 and 2022 67 wells. Natural gas was detected in 40 of them, always in small quantities.

Despite the modest size of these discoveries, they are economically viable thanks to a depth between 900 and 1,800 m2, the existence of the on-site gas pipeline and the proximity of a local market made up of several industrial units.

Natural gas is collected at the DRJ station and then sent to the Atlantic Free Zone at Kenitra via a gas pipeline. A volume of approx 150,000 m3 per day is marketed at 7 customers : CMCP, PSA Peugeot Citroën, GPC, Extralait, Plastic Omnium, Dicastal and finally Setexam.

The Gharb region is now equipped with two natural gas collection and processing stations, as well as equipment and materials to improve well productivity and gas transportation.

In the past five years, 22 wells have been drilled in the Gharb Basin, 16 of which have resulted in the discovery of natural gas, 14 of which have been connected to the existing gas pipeline network in the area.

The discoveries in this area concern a dry gas (99% methane) that facilitates its exploitation. Natural gas production at Gharb has increased from 52 million m3 in 2017 to over the past five years 80 million m3 in 2021thanks to the signing of new sales contracts.

A study to conduct a new gas line is planned connect the Maghreb-Europe gas pipeline to the industrial zones of Kenitra with compressed gas technology.

The offshore Gharb area includes the LAR-1, Merou-1, Anchois-1, Anchois-2 and Deep Thon-1 concessions. These areas have been the subject of significant discoveries by Repsol, which have been confirmed by the well drilled by Chariot Oil in late 2021 and early 2022.

The Essaouira Basin (Meskala)

Exploitation of the Meskala gas field has begun from 1987, and continues to this day with the production of natural gas and condensates destined for OCP’s industrial plants in Youssoufia.

Gas produced from the Meskala Basin is accompanied by condensates which require treatment at a station prior to commercialization.

The annual production of this gas field is on average 30 million m3 of natural gas and 3,500 tons of condensate. Development of this field includes the construction of well MKL-110 and its connection to the grid. Results from recent drilling have indicated the existence of gas which will be confirmed by further studies.

The Tendrara Basin

In 1966, exploration work began at Tendrara. As of 2015, Sound Energy was conducting exploration and engineering studies in this basin.

Sound Energy has been performing since 2016 5 wells resulting in the discovery of gas in two of them, resulting in an operating permit as of 2018.

The development phase of Tendrara includes the construction of new wells and the equipment of processing and transport infrastructure for Supply of ONEE thermal power plants with natural gas.

A 120 km long gas pipeline It is planned to connect the treatment station to the Maghreb-Europe gas pipeline, which will transport the gas to the ONEE power plants in Tahaddart and Ain Béni Mathar. A total budget of approx 5.67 billion dirhamssupported in the amount of 1.47 billion dirhams by ONHYM.

Tarfaya-Agadir offshore

Three offshore wells have been completed in deep water. One of them revealed the existence of heavy oil at Tarfaya off the coast and the other from a relatively light oil at Ifni Offshore. Four Additional wells were drilled in deep water, three of which showed signs of the presence of oil and gas.

Between 2022 and 2024, Europe Petroleum & Gaz plans to drill a well in the area Inezgane offshore. While Eni and Qatar Petroleum plan to drill two wells offshore Tarfaya and Dakhla.

Boujdour off the coast

It is a large area of ​​around 200,000 km2 where a single well was drilled by Kosmos Energy and Capricorn in 2015. Gas was discovered there, but it is economically unviable.

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