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    Morocco sees improved gas potential: press


But exploration is lagging well behind the global average.

by: Daniel Graeber

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Complimentary, Natural Gas & LNG News, Middle East, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), Political, Ministries, Territorial dispute, Infrastructure, Pipelines, News By Country, Algeria, Morocco

Morocco sees improved gas potential: press

The Moroccan government expects total natural gas production to increase by about 12% from 2020 levels but said exploration is lagging, regional media reported November 9.

Laila Benali, Morocco's minister of energy transition and sustainable development, said domestic natural gas production is expected to increase from 98mn m3 last year to more than 110mn m3 for full-year 2021.

She expressed concern, however, that “this is a low level, compared to the annual national consumption that now exceeds one billion cubic meters,” Agence de Presse Africaine reported.

Morocco is looking to secure its resources after gas flows were interrupted by a geopolitical spat between with Algeria. Algeria suspended diplomatic ties with Morocco in August, accusing an independence movement in the Berber region of Morocco of playing a role in forest fires that left at least 90 people dead and scorched tens of thousands of acres of forested land in Algeria.

The official Algeria Press Service reported in late October that Algerian president Abdelamdjid Tebboue ordered state energy company Sonatrach to end its commercial relationship with the Moroccan government. Sonatrach in turn was ordered to halt natural gas deliveries to Spain due to political tensions with Morocco, which shares a border with Algeria.

Benal, meanwhile, said that upstream activity was lagging in Morocco. There is an average of four wells per 10 km2 compared to a global average of 1,000/10 km2.

“Despite the efforts made, hydrocarbon deposits in the kingdom remain insufficiently explored,” she was quoted as saying.

The Reuters news service added in a report filed November 8 that the government is looking to port infrastructure to improve its capacity to import liquefied natural gas. A source told the news service in October that Tangier could also be a future location for a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU). If it comes to fruition, the FSRU would be tapped into the Algeria-Spain pipeline, which is idled due to geopolitical tensions.