Predator Oil & Gas has been accepted in its application for a licence in northern Morocco, close to Sound Energy’s Tendrara project. A statement on November 30 said Predator had been approved by the Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines (ONHYM). A formal award will follow, assuming the London-listed company provides a bank guarantee.
The licence will run for eight years, split into three phases. The first will run for 30 months, the second 36 and the third 30. The first phase requires 250 km of existing seismic data to be reprocessed and one well drilled, to a depth of at least 2,000 metres. This will test a seismic anomaly believed to be indicative of shallow Tertiary gas.
The agreement covers 7,269 square km and includes the Guercif Permits I, II, III and IV. The company said this was east of producing gas fields in the Gharb Basin and northwest of Sound’s Tendrara.
Predator will hold a 75% stake in the blocks through its Predator Gas Ventures unit. The remaining 25% will be held by ONHYM, with a back-in right, which would be exercised if Predator successfully finds hydrocarbons. There are also potentially deeper targets, with gas in the Triassic and oil and gas in the Jurassic. The initial target is 9 km from the Gazoduc Maghreb Europe (GME) pipeline.
The company’s CEO, Paul Griffiths, said Guercif had been chosen based on 12 years of experience in Morocco. “It represents an asset that will fit very well with the company's strategy of developing gas opportunities adjacent to infrastructure, where the geological and commercial risks can be shown to be low. Guercif represents a high impact, low cost, near-term drilling opportunity in a sophisticated and stable business and operating environment that is well understood by management.”
The official went on to say the company was excited by the Moroccan opportunity. He noted it also expected to achieve cash flow from an enhanced oil recovery (EOR) project in Trinidad, “which can underpin our plans to become a significant gas player connected to the European gas market”.
Griffiths previously worked for Fastnet Oil and Gas, which worked on the Tendrara licence. The company’s option expired in late 2014, though, blaming tough market conditions. Sound is now working on a development plan at the field, which will involve a pipeline being built to the GME.