The moroccan press
Humboldt Wedag GmbH, Germany, a subsidiary of KHD Humboldt Wedag International AG (KHD), Cologne, Germany, has signed contracts totaling over EUR80m for the supply of equipment and execution of civil and erection works as well as supervision services for a cement plant in western sub-Sahara region.
The contracts will be booked as order intake as soon as the pre-conditions for commencing project execution are fulfilled, the company said in a statement.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud arrived on Monday in the northern Moroccan city of Tangier for a private vacation, local media reported.
The king was greeted on his arrival in Ibn Battouta by Moroccan Prime Minister Saadeddine El Othmani and the president of Tanger region Ilyas El Omari.
Nearly 924 rooms have been reserved for the Saudi delegation in the most prestigious hotels in the city, the Moroccan news site le360.ma reported.
A total of 453 luxury cars were also made available to the Saudi delegation, it reported. In recent years, the Saudi king has been spending his holiday in the Moroccan coastal city.
Prior to his departure, King Salman appointed his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to run the affairs of the country in his absence.
The straits Times
photo: European Press Photo Agency
Moroccans and tourists took advantage of beautiful summer weather to enjoy the beach in Rabat, Morocco, on Sunday.
Tourists seduced by the exoticism of Marrakesh and Fez often unfairly neglect Morocco’s lesser-known capital, reported The Telegraph.
Rabat, which is located about 300km from Marrakesh and sits at the mouth of the River Bou Regreg, has fine public beaches and a 12th-century kasbah, or citadel, perched over the water.
Morocco welcomed about three million tourists during the first four months of this year, and is set to see an increase of about 10 per cent over the same period last year.
Tourism remains a vital pillar of the Moroccan economy and is the country’s second-biggest employer, after agriculture. The sector accounts for 10 per cent of national income and, along with exports and remittances from Moroccans overseas, is one of the country’s main sources of foreign currency, according to Agence France-Presse.
Business Brief: Morocco Expands Global Trade Networks; Aims to be in Top 50 Countries for Doing Business; Will Host Global Conference on Women in Agriculture; and Launches Effort to Attract Overseas Moroccan Business Leaders – Jean R. AbiNader
While summer may bring its fair amount of heat to Morocco, it has not slowed the country’s economic and business activities. Delegations from Argentina and visits to Brazil and Ireland, and a new outreach effort to enlist Moroccans abroad in entrepreneurial initiatives are among the most recent announcements coming out of the Kingdom.
Government sets goal to bring Morocco into the top 50 for Doing Business. Last week, at the 9th meeting of Morocco’s National Committee on the Business Environment (CNEA), head of government Saad Eddine Othmani made a pledge to continue efforts to improve Morocco’s business climate to attract investors and encourage business expansion. For example, ranking in the World Bank’s annual Ease of Doing Business reports, Morocco’s rank has risen steadily, from128 out of 183 countries in 2010 to 68 out of 190 countries this year. And the CNEA goal is to be in the top 50 by 2021.
Among the initiatives announced are efforts to improve dialogue between the public and private sectors, streamlining administrative procedures, greater use of digital technology to enhance business development, and continuing reform of business laws and regulations.
Attending the CNEA meeting were Miriem Behsaleh Chaqroun, president of the General Confederation of Moroccan Business (CGEM), and other notables from the public and private sectors who share CNEA’s goals and support 22 upcoming projects to enhance the role and voice of the business community.
These include, according to a Morocco World News report, “the development of legal and regulatory framework of business, the development of mechanisms to listen to the private sector and maintaining the image of Morocco in international reports from the perspective of developing a strategy to improve the business climate, the simplification of administrative procedures and the creation of single points of contact, and the development of mechanisms and the methodology of the CNEA’s functioning.”
Underlying these projects will be “a survey to determine obstacles facing the private sector, creating a digital platform to receive comments (both grievances and suggestions) from entrepreneurs, and determining a…2018-21 plan of action to integrate Morocco into the Doing Business reports’ top 50 nations.”
Business development efforts continue apace. Among key developments these past weeks were high level interactions with leaders from Brazil, Argentina, and Ireland. As reported in several sources, Morocco is committed to expanding its presence on both sides of the Atlantic, most recently hosting Argentinean Vice-President Marta Gabriela Michetti for wide-ranging discussions related to bilateral business ties and opening new markets for Argentinean investments in Morocco as a business platform for Africa.
In Brazil, a bilateral business conference was held in Sao Paulo to explore current relations and prospects for increased Brazilian trade in Africa using Morocco as an intermediary. The seminar, “Assessing and Redefining Policies towards Africa in a New Global Scenario: Intersecting Perspectives between Brazil and Morocco,” emphasized the many opportunities in bilateral trade and investment. While the bulk of the current trade centers around sugar from Brazil and fertilizers from Morocco, participants noted expanding opportunities for both countries. One of the more intriguing ideas was a Mercosur-Morocco trade agreement to facilitate Brazilian access to both Africa and the Middle East.
One of the immediate consequences of the growing business between Morocco and Brazil is that Royal Air Maroc announced that it would expand its flights to Sao Paulo from four times a week to daily flights from Casablanca. This will serve increased business ties, as well as growing tourism options for both countries.
In Ireland, a delegation from Morocco engaged in wide-ranging talks that included opportunities in dairy, agriculture, food processing, and agri-technology that would enhance bilateral commercial relations. The visit was a follow-up to an Irish visit to Morocco last year. Local reports noted that there has been “phenomenal” growth in bilateral trade, which has doubled in the last five years, with only more opportunities ahead.
Another Sea Link to Africa. Following on the success of the Wazzan I maritime transportation link from Tangier and Casablanca to Africa, Morocco recently launched Wazzan II, to enable Moroccan exporters to connect both by sea to West African countries on the coast including Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, Benin, and Liberia, and by overland links to Mali and Burkina Faso. It will be a weekly service from Casablanca to support the Kingdom’s 12% growth in annual exports to the continent.
And Concerning Women in Africa. The international NGO Believe in Africa (BIA) announced that it will hold its second conference in Marrakech in September. Morocco was chosen for this year’s “Women and Agriculture” conference, in large part in response to the leadership role of King Mohammed VI in promoting the role of women in development. More than 500 delegates are expected from across Africa to discuss politics and business with regional and international experts in financing, technology and innovation, climate change, and access to markets. The voices of members of non-governmental organizations and institutions will also be included, According to the event press release, “By bringing people together, BIA 2017 will be the place where the pivotal role African women play, and contribute, in agriculture and sustainable development will be discussed and honored.”
Mrs. Angelle KWEMO, president of the association and of the conference said that “Morocco is one of the most economically dynamic African countries. Geographically and strategically located, Morocco is a bridge to Europe and the U.S. for Africa and a leader for South-South trade. It is certain that during this Conference we will learn a lot from the Moroccan experience in developing and expanding its agriculture sector.”
Outreach project to attract overseas Moroccans. In February, CGEM and the Moroccan Ministry of Moroccans Abroad signed an agreement to create a special public-private partnership to attract overseas Moroccans to invest in their home country. As a result of that agreement, the Moroccan Business Bridge symposium opened today in Rabat, with around 300 Moroccan business leaders from around the world who will share their experiences and hopefully create opportunities for business development.
According to the event press release, the program will initiate a digital network “for professional exchange between Morocco’s world entrepreneurs and those based in Morocco. It aims also to encourage Moroccan investors living abroad to invest in the Moroccan market and to contribute to the development of the Kingdom by enhancing its image abroad.”
In a survey taken earlier this year, it was found that more than 50% of Moroccan entrepreneurs living abroad would invest in Morocco given the opportunity. It is estimated that there are more than 300,000 Moroccan business owners in the overseas community of more than 5 million.
The post Business Brief: Morocco Expands Global Trade Networks; Aims to be in Top 50 Countries for Doing Business; Will Host Global Conference on Women in Agriculture; and Launches Effort to Attract Overseas Moroccan Business Leaders – Jean R. AbiNader appeared first on Morocco On The Move.
France condemned Sunday's attack in Bangassou (Central African Republic) against a patrol of peacekeepers, which caused the death of a Moroccan soldier, saying that the perpetrators of this attack must be brought to justice.
"We offer our condolences to the family of the victim and to the Moroccan authorities," said the French Foreign Ministry in a statement made public on Monday by its spokesman Agnès Romatet-Espagne, adding that France supports Morocco, a country that is seriously affected, in its commitment to peacekeeping operations.
Moroccan MINUSCA Peacekeeper Killed, Three Others Wounded in Exchange of Fire with Armed Group (Military Source)
A peacekeeper belonging to the Royal Armed Forces (FAR) contingent in the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) was killed in an exchange of fire with the anti-Balaka armed militia, which attacked a FAR contingent patrol returning from an escort mission in Bangassou on July 23, 2017 at around 5:30 pm, said a military source.
Three other peacekeepers of the patrol were also injured in the attack, the same source added.
Maroc Telecom’s revenues in Morocco decreased by 5.1 percent to MAD 10.07 billion in the first six months to 30 June from MAD 10.62 billion in the same period in 2016, affected by the reintroduction of asymmetric call termination rates in March and the deregulation of IP telephony in November 2016. The fixed line and mobile outbound service revenues increased by 2.3 percent, driven by the success of high-speed offers.
EBITDA declined by 5.6 percent to MAD 5.36 billion from MAD 5.67 billion in 2016 as a result of lower revenues.
The EBITDA margin shrank by 0.3 percentage points to 53.1 percent, with a 0.5 percentage points improvement in the gross margin ratio and to a 2.3 percent decrease in operating expenses following the departure of 1,026 employees. The adjusted operating income was MAD 3.49 billion with a margin of 34.7 percent, down 1.4 percentage points as result of the fall in EBITDA and the increase of 1.5 percent in depreciation charge after an important investment programme.
The adjusted cash flow from operations in Morocco was MAD 3.09 billion, down by 9.3 percent due to the decrease in EBITDA amid lower mobile call termination rates, the deregulation of IP telephony and a 15.5 percent increase in investment, driven by the acceleration in the roll-out of 4G+. The mobile customer base reached 18.4 million on 30 June, an increase of 1.3 percent in one year, with 3.7 percent growth in postpaid and 1.0 percent in the prepaid subscriber base.
King Salman of Saudi Arabia will spend his August holidays in the northwestern Morocco port town of Tangier for the third year running.
The king, who recently severed his country’s diplomatic ties with Qatar, is expected to arrive in the country on Monday.
Despite the diplomatic crisis, the Saudi royal family will be vacationing not far from emir of Qatar’s family, which chose the inland mountainous town of Ifran, less than 400 kilometres away, for its holidays.
King Salman will make his a working holiday, but he has left the kingdom in the hands of his son, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 31, who was named on June 21 as heir to the throne.
The Moroccan government has chosen to remain neutral in the face of the diplomatic crisis with Qatar.
Two jets are expected to arrive at the Ibn Battouta Airport in Tangier from Jeddah on Monday evening, one with King Salman and his delegation aboard, and the other carrying his wife and part of his family.
The Saudi royal family has reserved 924 hotel rooms, for around 1,000 guests total; the large number of guests has made it impossible to find accommodations in 5-star hotels in the city for the entire month of August.
The delegation also had to comb auto dealerships in Marrakech, Rabat, and Casablanca to provide all of the 453 luxury cars it required.
Preparations in Tangier for the delegation’s arrival have been underway for about two weeks, since the time that the kitchen, cleaning, and ceremonial staff of 143 men and women arrived in the royal family’s luxurious estate with a view of the Atlantic Ocean. (ANSAmed).
Middle East Online
By Saad Guerraoui – LONDON
The political crisis in Libya is also hampering its ties with neighbouring countries.
Foreign Ministers from the AMU attend 34th Council of the organisation in Tunis.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) slammed the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) for failing to ensure the free movement of goods in a free trade area that would span the wide North African region that includes Morocco, Mauritania, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya.
“It is crazy that goods need to transit between these neighbours via the French port of Marseilles when they could simply cross over by land,” wrote Wadia Ait Hamza, head of Social Engagement — The Americas, in a paper posted on the World Economic Forum website.
Founded in 1989, the AMU is a pact seeking to establish economic and political integration between member countries.
The last planned summit originally scheduled for May 26, 2005, was postponed indefinitely because of Morocco’s refusal to take part in it due to Algeria’s vocal support for Sahrawi independence. Analysts said that longstanding political disagreements between Morocco and Algeria regarding the Western Sahara conflict besides the political crisis in war-torn Libya were hampering the union’s economic progress.
Morocco annexed Western Sahara in 1975 and maintains it is an integral part of the kingdom. Algerian-backed Polisario Front separatists began an armed conflict with Morocco for an independent state that lasted until the United Nations brokered a ceasefire in 1991.
Rabat has proposed a form of autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty for the territory. The proposal was rejected by the Polisario Front, which insists on the right of the Sahrawi people to self-determination in a UN-monitored vote.
Algeria denies involvement in the Western Sahara issue although its leaders are suspected of playing a key role in it.
In February, Moroccan King Mohammed VI warned that the AMU would crumble if its incapacity to live up to the ambitions of the 1989 agreement continued.
“Today, we regret to see that the Arab Maghreb Union is the least integrated region in the African continent, if not in the whole world. Intra-regional trade has reached 10% between ECOWAS [Economic Community of West African States] countries and 19% between SADC [Southern African Development Community] countries, while it is still stagnating at less than 3% between Maghreb countries,” King Mohammed VI said.
Trade within the AMU is the lowest of any region in the world, averaging $200 million per year between the five countries. This accounts for 3% of the bloc’s total trade. The European Union accounts for more than 60% of the bloc’s total trade.
Mohamed Amine Mansouri Idrissi, the general manager of Afrique Strategie in Morocco, said it is “heartbreaking” that two neighbouring countries trade through a third party.
“Why do we have to make someone else, who doesn’t create any added value, benefit from trade between Morocco and Algeria?” asked Idrissi, adding that the third party could make much higher profits than Moroccan exporters, a policy that harms Algerian consumers.
Ali Bahaijoub, director of the Centre for Euro-Mediterranean and African Studies, said that the AMU crisis was mainly due to the political stalemate between Morocco and Algeria over Western Sahara.
“As long as the army rules in Algeria, the crisis between the two countries will not be resolved,” Bahaijoub said.
“There is a political vacuum in Algeria that is jeopardising the future of the region.
“It is better for Morocco to trade with other economic zones rather than wait for Algeria to open its borders, which have been closed since 1994,” he added.
Algeria closed its land border with Morocco in 1994 after Rabat instituted visa regulations on Algerian tourists following a terrorist attack on the Atlas Asni Hotel in Marrakech that killed two Spanish tourists. Morocco accused Algeria of being involved in the attack.
The political crisis in Libya is also hampering its ties with neighbouring countries. Huwaida Elfnayesh, a professor at Tripoli University’s School of Law, said “recent events in the Arab countries, represented by the ‘Arab spring’ revolutions, contributed to widening the gap between the union countries, especially in terms of security.”
“Each country tries to secure its borders from the infiltration of ‘extremist fighters’ as well as the absence of a government in Libya. All these things have brought the union back to the scratch,” said Elfnayesh.
“The problem of the Moroccan Sahara is still between Algeria and Morocco. Moreover, the collapse of the state in Libya and its civil war directly affects the countries of the union given that common borders with Tunisia and Algeria and the geographical location of Libya in the heart of the union, where Morocco has hosted the negotiations of the Libyan parties in the so-called ‘Skhirat’ under the auspices of the United Nations, but the peace process is still long, which is reflected negatively on any attempt to revive the Union.”
The WEF called for the opening of borders between AMU members to ensure the free movement of goods and people.
Economic analyst Atman Dkhissi said the WEF’s statement about the AMU is not something new.
“AMU members need to put aside their political problems to enhance trade between them that would boost employment in the region,” said Dkhissi, echoing Bahaijoub’s remark that the AMU’s future is tied to resolving the Western Sahara issue.
“Before the border closure, eastern Morocco’s economy greatly depended on Algerian tourists’ spending,” said Dkhissi.
Ali Hamza highlighted the Maghreb countries’ complementary economic conditions. While Tunisia and Morocco specialise in services and agriculture, Libya and Algeria have significant natural resources.
AMU Secretary-General Taieb Baccouche told Jeune Afrique magazine on the sidelines of the African Union summit in Addis Ababa “the fact that I have not yet had discussions with these two heads of state (Moroccan and Algerian leaders) since taking up my duties does not refer to any official position with regard to the AMU or with regard to myself.”
He said he was waiting for the AMU foreign ministers’ summit later this year to present a new strategy before presenting it to various countries’ leaders.
As for the political crisis between Morocco and Algeria, Baccouche expressed his optimism about an improvement in the future.
“I think reconciliation will come. We should not give up,” he said.
Elfnayesh was less than hopeful about the project’s future.
“Despite the great ambition of the Maghreb integration project, the reality proved its failure in all respects, as all the economic, political and security indicators show,” she said.
“Unfortunately, there are no quick solutions that could push the union ahead, with the many problems that surfaced on a daily basis — including the Libyan crisis — which led to the almost permanent closure of the border between most of its countries after the ‘Arab spring’ and the anxiety of terrorism has dominated the governments of the region.”
Saad Guerraoui is a regular contributor to The Arab Weekly on Maghreb issues.
This article was originally published in The Arab Weekly.
Thé Construction index
Société du Tramway de Rabat-Salé (STRS) has appointed a consortium of Colas Rail and its Morocco-based road construction subsidiary, GTR, to build the extension of Line 2 of the Rabat-Salé tramway. This extension will connect Rabat’s Yacoub El Mansour district and Salé’s new hospital to the tramway network.
The €29m (£26m) contract includes installing the tram platforms, laying rails and installing rail signalling equipment over a total distance of 7km. Colas will also add an additional storage track to the Hay Karima depot and relocate the tram stop serving Salé train station.
Construction work will start next month and the line extension is scheduled to start running in the second half of 2019.
Morocco decided to increase the quota of scholarships granted to Senegalese students enrolled in the Kingdom's higher education schools from 100 to 150 for the next academic year, said on Friday in Dakar director general of the Moroccan Agency for International Cooperation (AMCI), ambassador Mohamed Methqal.
The announcement was made during the preparatory meeting of the Morocco-Senegal inter-joint committee related to education, research and student exchange, attended mainly by Morocco's ambassador in Dakar Taleb Barada.
News Central African Republic
Source: AFP news agency
The UN blamed pro-Christian armed groups for the shootings in the southern Central African Republic city of Bangassou.
The UN’s 12,500-strong MINUSCA peacekeeping mission is tasked with protecting civilians from armed groups which continue to flourish [File: Reuters]
An ambush killed a Moroccan peacekeeper and wounded three others on Sunday in the Central African Republic, the United Nations said, blaming pro-Christian armed groups for the violence.
“A MINUSCA (peacekeeping mission) military convoy was targeted by Anti-balaka,” it said of the clash in the southern city of Bangassou.
The country is struggling to emerge from a civil war that erupted in 2013 following the overthrow of former President Francois Bozize, a Christian, by Muslim rebels from the Seleka coalition.
The coup led to the formation of “Anti-balaka” vigilante units, drawn from the Christian majority, which began to target Muslims. Both sides committed widespread atrocities.
OPINION: World’s most neglected conflict rages on in the CAR
“The attack took place while the Moroccan peacekeepers were escorting water tankers to the river to help resupply the village,” the MINUSCA force said on Sunday, condemning the assault and sending “condolences to the family, the people and the government of Morocco”.
Earlier on Sunday, the UN condemned an “attack by Anti-balaka near a cathedral where a number of displaced people are living”. Two children were seriously wounded, it said.
Morocco has topped Maghreb countries in terms of attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), local media reported on Sunday.
Citing a report by the Arab Investment and Export Credit Guarantee Corporation, the Moroccan financial daily L’Economiste said the North African kingdom attracted 2.3 billion U.S. dollars worth of FDI in 2016.
According to the report, Morocco overtook its neighboring Maghreb nations such as Algeria with 1.5 billion U.S. dollars, Tunisia with 958 million U.S. dollars and Libya with 493 million U.S. dollars worth of FDI in 2016.
Among Arab countries, Morocco came at fifth after the Unite Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.
It noted that Arab countries drained some 30.8 billion U.S. dollars worth of FDI in 2016, a 25 percent increase compared to a year earlier.
A Chinese firm has signed a deal with Moroccan companies to build the tallest skyscraper in Africa in the capital of Morocco, local media reported on Sunday.
The deal was concluded in Casablanca by China Railway Construction Corporation and Morocco’s BMCE Bank of Africa and Travaux Generaux de Construction de Casablanca, Morocco’s leading construction company, le360.ma news site said.
The 55-storey tower will reach 250 meters high, with the adoption of ecological and sustainable design concepts. It will include offices, hotels and luxury apartments, according to the report.
The tower will be the highlight of a large-scale project to develop the Bouregreg valley in Rabat, a key component of the 2014-2018 Integrated Development Program dubbed “Rabat, City of Light, Moroccan Cultural Capital.”
The new project also involves the construction of several innovative facilities, including the Grand Theatre of Rabat, the Arts and Culture House, the National Archives of the Kingdom of Morocco and the Archaeological Museum.
Morocco and Britain have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on civil aviation security, the official MAP news agency reported on Friday.
Initiated by minister of tourism, Mohamed Sajid, and the Charge d’Affaires at the British Embassy in Rabat, William Hopkinson, the agreement will further develop cooperation in the field of civil aviation security, the report said.
This goal will be achieved through exchange of experiences and expertise, particularly in the field of new technologies, the organization of training activities, exchange of visits and the evaluation of security measures applied at the two countries’ airports, it pointed out.
The two sides also agreed to combine their efforts and consolidate their relations in the field of civil aviation security.
This cooperation will further strengthen Morocco’s privileged position in the North African region for its security and economic stability and further enhance its image as an attractive tourist destination.
France 24 Apologizes For Airing Images Of Violence From Venezuela Purporting They Happened In Al Hoceima
The North Africa Post
France 24 TV channel has apologized following protests by Morocco after the channel broadcasted images of protests in Venezuela purporting they happened in Morocco’s northern town of Al Hoceima.
The French news broadcaster said the images were a technical failure that was addressed in the following news hour.
Morocco’s ministerial department in charge of the foreign press, The Ministry of Culture and Communication, deplored the airing of images having nothing to do with the circumstances in Al Hoceima adding that it took note of France 24 apology.
Morocco’s Culture and Communication Minister Mohamed Laarej has demanded in a letter, apologies from the French media group, which includes France 24, RFI and Monte Carlo Doualiya.
“That footage, which presented Venezuelan protesters as young Moroccans chased by law enforcement elements in Al Hoceima in northern Morocco sought sewing confusion and misleading the TV channel’s viewers,” the minister said in his letter.
France 24 broadcasted images from Venezuela on July 13 depicting protesters trying to hide from security forces firing at them. The scene was shown during a program on Al Hoceima hosting lawyer Mohammed Ziane, a member of the defense team representing detained Rif protesters.
POSTED BY NORTH AFRICA POST
North Africa Post’s news desk is composed of journalists and editors, who are constantly working to provide new and accurate stories to NAP readers.
by Jamie Ashcroft
Chief executive James Parsons says the rest of 2017 will see a busy operational period for Sound Energy.
Sound Energy PLC (LON:SOU) has outlined its plans for the newly defined Anoual and Matarka exploration areas in the vicinity of its successful Tendrara gas project in eastern Morocco.
New exploration licences are being issued as the group completes its acquisition deal agreed previously with partner OGIF – which also gives the company a larger position in Tendrara.
Sound plans to undertake geophysical surveying and preliminary exploration operations, including seismic, ahead of future wells in the new exploration areas.
READ: Sound Energy confirms Tendrara development concept is intact
“Following the recent confirmation of the plan for Tendrara development with the successful TE7 pressure build up, I am very pleased to report excellent progress on the OGIF acquisition and our geophysical programme,” said James Parsons, Sound Energy chief executive.
“We, together with our strategic partner Schlumberger, are opening a new hydrocarbon province in Eastern Morocco, which we absolutely expect to be transformational for both Sound Energy and Morocco.”
Parsons said the agreements for the new Anoual and Matarka licences will further strengthen the group’s regional position.
“In the meantime, we look forward to updating shareholders on our future drilling plans in Eastern Morocco and the extended well test in Southern Morocco, and to continuing to advance the company’s position in the region.
“We expect the third and fourth quarters to be a busy operational period.”
Tendrara stake increases
Sound confirmed that with its successful recent well programme at Tendrara, it has already satisfied the commitments of both the first and second complimentary periods under its licence agreement, and it now expects to secure a new eight-year licence for the project in 2018.
The company’s next work at Tendrara will involve a Full Tensor Gravity (FTG) gradiometry survey and 2D seismic programme, both of which will be paid for by Schlumberger under its partnership agreement.
Presently, Sound owns a 75% stake in Tendrara which is effectively shared with Schlumberger, with the AIM-quoted firm retaining 47.5% of the asset.
The acquisition deal sees Sound issuing OGIF some 272mln new Sound Energy shares.
Once it is complete, Sound will acquire a further 20% stake in Tendrara, and it will secure the rights to acquire a 75% stake in the Meridja exploration area and a 75% stake in previously relinquished areas close to Tendrara.
Anoual exploration area
The area presently called Meridja will in future be known as the Anoual exploration area. Sound will retain 47.5% of Anoual, once it assigns Schlumberger 27.5%.
Anoual will be subject to an eight-year exploration permit, for an area spanning 8,863 square kilometres.
During an initial three year period. the company will be required to carry out an FTG-aerogradiometry programme, plus acquire 600 kilometres of 2D seismic and 150 square kilometres of 3D seismic.
A subsequent period of two years and six months, will require one exploration well (to test a Triassic objective). Then, a second well will be required under the terms for a third period of two-and-a-half years.
Sound has the option to drill these well ahead of schedule, and they will still count against its obligations.
Matarka exploration area
The relinquished areas will be known as the Matarka exploration area.
Initially, the company will have a one-year reconnaissance licence and it will have to deliver an FTG survey.
After that the group will have the right to apply for a longer exploration licence.
Sound told investors it expects Schlumberger (which is paying for and carrying out the work) will undertake a number of geophysical surveys – including FTG, Scalar Gravity, Magnetics and LiDAR surveys.
This work will start in July. It will span some 24,000 square kilometres, and it will inform a basin scale model to evaluate Paleozoic and Triassic petroleum systems and the basin’s potential. It is expected to be a three month programme, with a full interpretation of the data anticipated in November.
The findings will support planning for the future seismic programmes.
Schlumberger is expected to start the 2D seismic in the first half of next year. The exploration programme will be split into three parcelled areas, likely starting with an area in the Tendrara/Anoual border area where the partners want to better define structural leads.
Subsequently, once all seismic is complete, the company intends to upgrade exploration prospects into its inventory, which will be assessed further via a new competent persons report.
This will be part of a programme to advance the Tendrara resources ahead of a final investment decision for the anticipated Tendrara development project.
Efforts to tap key new markets are yielding results for Morocco’s tourism industry, helping the country to boost visitor numbers and buck regional trends in the process, the Oxford Business Group (OBG) pointed out.
Deputy minister in charge of Relations with the Parliament and Civil Society, government spokesman, Mustapha El Khalfi, said, on Thursday in Rabat, that there is a collective awareness of the need to create an atmosphere of serenity in Al Hoceima.