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Israeli energy firm signs joint natural gas exploration deal with Morocco

Israel’s NewMed and Adarco Energy each awarded 37.5% stake in Boujdour Atlantique, with license for 8 years; Morocco to get remaining share

Illustrative: The Tamar gas field. (NewMed Energy/Delek Drilling)
Illustrative: The Tamar gas field. (NewMed Energy/Delek Drilling)

Israel’s NewMed Energy on Tuesday announced it has signed a deal with Morocco and Adarco Energy for offshore natural gas exploration and production licenses in the north African kingdom.

Under the terms of the agreements, NewMed and Adarco will each hold a 37.5 percent stake in the Boujdour Atlantique exploration license, located off the coast of Morocco in the Atlantic Ocean. Morocco’s National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines will own the remaining 25%.

“We have long identified enormous potential in Morocco and today’s announcement is part of an extensive strategic move that will render NewMed Energy the leading energy body in the East Mediterranean region and North Africa,” NewMed CEO Yossi Abu said in a statement.

The 8-year license for exploration in the Boujdour Atlantique, which lies in the south of Morocco’s offshore economic zone, includes prospects for natural gas and oil discoveries. According to the work plan, within 30 months from the date the license is granted, a geological and geophysical analysis will be performed in the area of interest, and initial exploration drilling is scheduled to commence after about 2.5 years.

The agreements must still be approved by Morocco’s ministry of energy transition and sustainable development and ministry of finance. Morocco normalized ties with Israel in December 2020, as part of the US-backed Abraham Accords that opened diplomatic relations between the Jewish state and several Arab countries.

Speaking at the COP27 climate conference in Sharm El Sheikh last month, Abu reiterated his interest in Egypt and Morocco as a “base for the production of green hydrogen.”

The signing of the agreements comes after NewMed, formerly Delek Drilling (part of Yitzhak Tshuva’s Delek Group), in August announced joint cooperation with Enlight Energy to promote renewable energy projects in the Middle East and North Africa, including in countries with which Israel does not have formal diplomatic ties.

The partners said at the time that they are looking into renewable energy markets in the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain — both signatories to the Abraham Accords — as well as oil giants Saudi Arabia and Oman. Enlight and NewMed sought to focus on projects related to solar energy, wind energy, and energy storage projects.

NewMed is also a key stakeholder in Israel’s Leviathan offshore the Mediterranean coast and was involved in the development of the Tamar, Karish, and Tanin natural gas fields.

Last month, Israeli hydrogen company H2Pro and Moroccan renewable energy developer Gaia Energy signed a strategic agreement for the supply of green hydrogen.

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