Moroccan state firm ONHYM on 21 November awarded Genel a 75% operator’s stake in the Mir Left Block. ONHYM will retain 25%, with the award subject to government approval. Genel has committed to drill one well and shoot 400 sq km of 3D seismic during the initial 3-year exploration period. The firm says it will kick off seismic acquisition in January, “with the aim of drilling our first well in 2014.” The 3,259 sq km block has water depths of 60ms to 320ms. Mir Left is directly offshore Agadir and immediately northeast of the Sidi Moussa Block where Genel in August bought a 60% operator’s stake from minnows San Leon, Erica and Longreach (MEES, 27 August).

The company’s Africa COO John Hirst says that snapping up Mir Left “further deepens [Genel’s] position in the fairway associated with the working petroleum system offshore Morocco.” This refers to the Cap Juby heavy oil field to the south, discovered by Exxon in the late 1960s drilling but which at the time was uneconomic to develop. Genel and UK independent Cairn each bought 37.5% stakes in the Juby Maritime blocks which contain the discovery earlier this year. Operator Cairn plans to kick off its exploration efforts by re-processing 500 sq km of seismic covering the area surrounding the Cap Juby discovery and plans to start a deepwater drilling campaign on its neighboring Foum Draa blocks in late 2013 (MEES, 3 September). (CONTINUED - 984 WORDS)