Morocco’s prospecting in waters near the Canary archipelago is beginning to bear fruit. Abundant fruits. the british company Europe Oil & Gasin charge of exploring the marine subsoil northeast of the gracefulhas discovered a macro deposit of Petroleum with the potential to extract more than one billion barrels. Moreover, the multinational considers that the extraction can be done with all the guarantees, that is, “without risk”. To get an idea of the magnitude of this discovery, it is enough to point out that its value would currently be around 107,000 million dollars, about 99,200 million euros. An astronomical figure that is almost equivalent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Morocco, which amounted to about 104,000 million in 2020.
The well has the capacity to cover all of Spain’s demand for two years
The announcement by Europa Oil & Gas, which the multinational made on the 13th with the publication of its business results for the last semester, is thus an incentive for Rabat in its campaign to search for hydrocarbons in the strip of sea that separates its coasts from those of the Canary Islands. That strip of sea whose sovereignty, by virtue of the median criterion, is shared 50% between Morocco and Spain. In fact, the discovery of the British firm coincides with the reactivation of prospecting at another point even closer to the Islands. Specifically in an area baptized as Tarfaya Offshore Shallow and located opposite Fuerteventura and Lanzarote. In this case, Rabat is preparing to puncture the seabed in search of gas and/or oil in a strip of sea of just over a hundred kilometers between its coastline and that of the eastern islands. So although the exploration will take place on the Moroccan side of the median, the surveys will be carried out just over 50 kilometers off the eastern coast of the Archipelago. The potential risks for the Canary Islands are, therefore, the same as if the tastings were carried out in the Spanish half of the waters, something that, by the way, Repsol already did in its day very close to Tarfaya Offshore Shallow. But, in addition, the spur of the discovery to the northeast of La Graciosa distances the possibility that the Alaouite kingdom agrees to paralyze prospecting in front of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, at least until the imminent negotiations with Spain for the delimitation of the waters that both share are concluded. State. A possibility –rather a majority wish among the political parties of the Autonomous Community– which is already remote in itself –we must not forget that Spain authorized and carried out surveys in waters under its jurisdiction, which leaves the country with few arguments to ask Morocco to do what he did not do – is now completely implausible. The potential wealth that sleeps under the Canarian-Moroccan waters is of such magnitude that can change the socioeconomic future of the neighboring country, something that no State would be willing to give up.
The exploitation of the deposit discovered by Europa Oil & Gas would be enough to justify Rabat’s efforts to find hydrocarbons. Last August, the multinational already released preliminary data that allowed it to calculate that in the Inezgane well –off Agadir– there could be oil to fill about 2,000 million barrels. However, one thing is the amount of crude oil that exists in a given field and another is the amount that can be extracted without risk or without the cost being so excessive that it results in a bad deal. Once the data has been updated, the British company estimates that “More than a billion barrels” can be extracted “without risk”.
“This is a high-potential exploration license where they have already mapped risk-free prospective oil resources of more than a billion barrels,” explains the oil company. Spain consumes an average of almost 1.3 million barrels per day, 474.5 million at the end of the year, with which the Moroccan well to the northeast of the Canary Islands would cover the entire demand of the country for more than a biennium.
The discovery is an incentive for Rabat’s ambitious campaign in search of hydrocarbons
The works of Europa Oil & Gas in waters near the Islands began last August in an area of just over 11.2 square kilometers. The British multinational owns 75% –three quarters– of the rights to Inezgane, while Morocco, through its National Office of Mines and Hydrocarbons, keeps the remaining 25%. It must be remembered that, at the time, Repsol ruled out continuing with the explorations authorized by Spain – in this case they were further south in the region – considering that the quantity and quality of the hydrocarbons discovered made the project unfeasible.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.