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    Chariot expands offshore Moroccan footprint


Chariot has added 8,489km² of acreage surrounding its Anchois gas prospect offshore Morocco.

by: Callum Cyrus

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Complimentary, Natural Gas & LNG News, Africa, Corporate, Exploration & Production, News By Country, Morocco

Chariot expands offshore Moroccan footprint

London-listed Chariot said February 28 it had secured a new licence bordering its Lixus gas development offshore Morocco, following a successful drilling campaign last month.

Chariot has been awarded a 75% stake in the Rissana licence, a territory spanning 8,489 km² off the Moroccan coastline at depths of up to 850 m. Morocco's national oil and gas operations board, Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines (ONHYM), awarded the licence and will retain the remaining 25% stake.

The licence award to Chariot comes after it struck gas last month at the Anchois-2 well. The Lixus drilling campaign was hailed by Chariot as a "tremendous" outcome after a substantial gas pay was proven across two sand prospects.

The Stena Don rig will now suspend Anchois-2 in situ before relocating to Chariot's 2009 Anchois gas find to assess whether the existing discovery well remains viable for gas production.

Expanding into the Rissana concession is expected to help Chariot build up further reserves. Current estimates indicate Anchois holds contingent gas resources of around 361 bn m³, though Chariot claims there is significant upside in the region. It has agreed to undertake a 2D seismic survey to evaluate Rissana's development potential and possible gas plays.

"We are delighted to have been formally awarded the Rissana licence," said Adonis Pouroulis, acting CEO of Chariot. "As we demonstrated with our recent successful drilling campaign at Anchois, this is a highly prospective basin and, along with the Lixus offshore licence, the award of Rissana ensures that we have captured the exploration upsides in this exciting play."

Chariot's Anchois campaign is forging ahead at a time of rising energy demand in Morocco, with 90% of the country's primary energy needs currently met with imported fossil fuels. Domestic gas output could support the country's clean energy objectives, providing baseload power supply to support the significant solar and wind power generation it is looking to develop.

By the end of this decade, Morocco's government aims to supply 52% of its electricity output from solar and hydroelectric facilities, however natural gas will continue to play a central role.