Morocco: Eni Expansion

Eni this week expanded in Morocco, taking a 75% operator’s stake in the 23,900km² Tarfaya Offshore Shallow permits off the south of the country. State firm Onhym retains 25%. Water depths are zero to 1,000ms (the deeper portion is more prospective making ‘shallow’ something of a misnomer).

This marks a further major vote of confidence in the global deepwater in general and North Africa’s ‘Atlantic Margin’ in particular. ExxonMobil signed up for three virgin Mauritania deepwater blocks earlier this month ( MEES, 8 December ).

Though most recent exploration off Morocco and Mauritania has focused on gas, Eni touts “liquid hydrocarbons potential in place” – a reference to Exxon drilling in the late-60s which struck small sub-commercial quantities of extra-heavy (10-12°API) oil on the outboard portion of Eni’s new acreage. There has been far more recent drilling at Tarfaya – two wells in 2014. Eni’s new acreage includes all of Portuguese part-state Galp’s former Tarfaya Offshore block, relinquished in 2016, and most of UK firm Cairn’s Juby Maritime block (late 2015). (CONTINUED - 390 WORDS)