LONDON, June 19 /CNW/ - Serica Energy plc (AIM & TSX-V: SQZ) announces
that it has signed with the Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines
("ONHYM") two Petroleum Agreements for the contiguous areas of Sidi Moussa
Offshore ("Sidi Moussa") and Foum Draa Offshore ("Foum Draa").
The Agreements are valid for up to 8 years and together cover a total
area of approximately 12,700 square kilometres in the sparsely explored Agadir
Basin, about 100 kilometres south west of the Moroccan city of Agadir. The
work programmes during the first 30 month period of the Foum Draa agreement
and first 18 month period of the Sidi Moussa agreement comprise seismic
reprocessing and geological studies.
The areas of Sidi Moussa and Foum Draa are covered by over 5,200 square
kilometres of modern 3D seismic data and over 2,000 kilometres of 2D seismic
data. A drill or drop decision will be made at the end of the initial phases
of the Agreements.
The Agadir Basin lies offshore in the Atlantic Margin and is geologically
analogous to and on trend with the oil producing salt basins of West Africa.
Based on the extensive grid of existing seismic data, over 40 undrilled
prospects and leads were identified in Sidi Moussa and Foum Draa by previous
operators. The areas extend from the Moroccan coastline into water depths
reaching a maximum of 2,000 metres.
The Joint Venture Partners in the Exploration Permits are IIEM (50%), the
designated operator, Serica Energy plc (25%) and ONHYM (25%).
Morocco has an attractive fiscal regime relative to other North and West
African oil and gas producing countries: State Participation on production of
up to 25%; 10% royalty on oil production (first 300,000 tonnes of production
exempt) and 5% royalty on gas production (first 300 million cubic metres
exempt). Corporation tax of 35% is only payable after a 10 year tax holiday.
Serica CEO Paul Elis said: "Following our recent oil discovery in the
Atlantic Margin offshore Ireland, we are delighted to have secured a large and
underexplored area of the Atlantic Margin offshore Morocco. With excellent
fiscal terms, comprehensive existing 3D and 2D seismic coverage, prospects
already mapped by previous operators and several play types, I am confident
that Sidi Moussa and Foum Draa will respond to Serica's use of leading edge
seismic technology and will provide us with some exciting exploration drilling
Mme Benkhadra, the Minister of Energy, Mines, Water and Environment of
Morocco, commented: "I am delighted that Island Oil & Gas plc and Serica
Energy plc, a new entrant in Morocco, have been awarded Exploration Permits to
explore for oil and gas in an important and highly prospective area offshore
Morocco. The award of these Permits further demonstrates the success of our
'open-door' policy in relation to the promotion of the large number of
opportunities for exploration both onshore and offshore Morocco."
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