Guernsey-based oil and gas explorer Chariot Oil & Gas has announced the completion of the development feasibility study and gas market assessment for one of its gas fields in Morocco as the company inches closer to a full-blown hydrocarbon development program in the North African country where it now holds three permits.
The study on the Anchois gas field in the Lixus offshore license concluded development of the acreage “is technically feasible with the potential for either a single phase or a staged development to commercially optimize access to different parts of the gas market.”
Completion of the study and the findings is a major boost to Chariot’s drive toward achieving its latest growth strategy that focuses on securing large acreage positions in new and emerging basins and ensuring the company takes operatorship position in early phases of developing a gas and oil project.
Apart from the Lixus permit, already Chariot is pursuing exploration programs in the Mohammedia Offshore and Kenitra Offshore permits in Morocco where it previously expressed optimism it would drill an additional exploration well in late 2019-2020.
"The results of these studies demonstrate the technical feasibility and commercial attractiveness of developing the Anchois gas discovery with the potential to offer a strategically important indigenous source of gas into Morocco’s developing energy market,” said company CEO Larry Bottomley.
“We believe the combination of a de-risked resource base in a fast-growing energy market, with high gas prices and a need for increased supply remains highly attractive to a wide range of potential strategic partners throughout the energy value chain,” he said.
Meanwhile, Bottomley said Chariot Oil & Gas has initiated a drilling environmental impact assessment plan as part of the “partnering process and to facilitate appraisal operations in 2020.”
The company said Tuesday the development options for the Anchois offshore gas field includes a subsea-to-shore concept, which, however, would require deployment of “proven industry standard technical solutions and equipment” for best results.
“This concept consists of subsea production wells tied to a subsea manifold, from which a subsea flowline and umbilical connect the field to an onshore Central Processing Facility, where gas is processed and then delivered into the Maghreb-Europe Gas pipeline via an onshore gas flowline,” added Chariot in the statement.
Despite offshore oil and gas search in Morocco not having yielded substantial commercial accumulation, Bottomley said in a previous interview the “wells drilled have demonstrated all the elements required for the potential of such a discovery – namely the presence of mature and generating hydrocarbon source rocks, reservoirs and seals.”
Chariot is the designated operator of Lixus permit with 75% stake in partnership with National Office of Hydrocarbons & Mines (ONHYM) that has a 25% interest.
“In the area of Chariot’s focus, recent drilling has demonstrated excellent quality reservoirs in Jurassic-aged sands and the presence of hydrocarbons from a Cretaceous or younger source rock, (which) presents a new play type for the offshore and appears unique due to the proximity of the Alpine foldbelt to this area which appears to have created sufficient burial of the world-class source rocks present in the Cretaceous,” he said.
Chariot is considering re-entering the suspended Anchois-1 gas discovery well that is located nearly 40 kilometers from the coast and which was drilled in 2009 to a total depth of 2,435 meters by Dana Petroleum and Spanish partner Repsol resulting in “two intervals of high quality, gas-bearing sands”. The well is one of the four wells drilled based on 3D seismic data covering 1,425 square kilometers in the Lixus permit that sits on 239,000 hectares in water depths ranging from the coastline line to more than 850 meters.
Chariot appears convinced of the commercial outcomes of its Morocco offshore ventures driven largely by what it says is the North African country’s “growing energy market with attractive gas prices that underpins a commercially attractive project.”
According to Bottomley, “Morocco remains a frontier area for exploration” supported by government initiatives to woo upstream investment and attract risk capital such as “excellent commercial terms, an open policy to participation, transparent processes and an excellent partner in ONHYM.”
An analysis of the two intervals of high quality, gas-bearing sands encountered in the well and the combined gas column encountered of about 90 meters with about 40 meters of net pay gives an indication of excellent quality reservoirs in the Anchois discovery, which Chariot says “offers the potential for high rate wells and the consequent possibility of a low-cost development.”
Chariot’s future in Morocco’s upstream space looks good and chances of the company’s achievement of a breakthrough in the search for gas are high on the back of the current “excellent commercial contract terms, the high gas prices in a developing market and the growing energy demand.”