Is Morocco’s Offshore Boom Over Before It Began?

While Morocco currently has no oil production, it has enjoyed something of an exploration boom over the past two years. Several majors and large independents – BP, Chevron, Total, Repsol, Cairn, Genel – are among those to have snapped up acreage.

But, amid delays securing rigs, and, for the smaller firms, financing, only five wells have been drilled so far, with none striking significant quantities of oil and gas. While some companies say they will press on with exploration efforts, others have pulled the plug, or plan to do so.

Only three wells offshore Morocco (including Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara) are still officially planned for 2015, but the number that actually will get drilled could be less. With oil prices down by more than half since mid-2014, firms are rapidly re-evaluating their capital expenditure plans. Pricey frontier exploration is typically the first thing to go, given that at current oil prices even a big deepwater discovery could prove uneconomic to develop.


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