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Chevron to explore offshore Morocco

22 Jan 2013, 10.30 pm GMT

Houston, 22 January (Argus) — Chevron has added to its overseas exploration portfolio for the second time in as many weeks, signing agreements with Morocco's government to study three areas off the north African nation's coast.

The US oil major said it will acquire seismic data and conduct studies of three deepwater areas stretching across 11,300 square miles (29,000km²): the Cap Rhir Deep, Cap Cantin Deep and Cap Walidia Deep. The prospects are 60-120 miles west and northwest of Agadir, Morocco, and are located in water depths of 330-14,700ft (100-4,500m).

“We look forward to participating in exploration activities in Morocco, which provides Chevron an opportunity to advance our growth strategy in frontier basins,” Chevron vice-chairman George Kirkland said.

Just a week ago, Chevron announced that it had entered into production-sharing contracts with China's state-controlled oil company CNOOC for exploration of two blocks in the South China Sea. The company aims to make large discoveries that can help drive future gains in production and reserves after output fell short of the company's target in 2012.

Chevron holds a 75pc working interest in the three offshore Morocco areas. The country's government owns the remaining 25pc.

Chevron has significant production in west Africa and Chad, as well as downstream assets and shale exploration acreage in South Africa, but the company has not been a major operator in north Africa. The Morocco deal extends the company's reach to the northwest corner of the continent.

Morocco's relatively unexplored offshore petroleum prospects have attracted investment in recent years from UK independents Cairn Energy, Genel Energy and San Leon Energy, as well as Australia's Tangiers Petroleum and US explorer Kosmos Energy , which made the Jubilee field discovery off Ghana in 2007.

“This is an opportunity for Chevron to expand its already strong presence in the region and allows us to acquire further knowledge about promising geology in an emerging area,” Chevron president for African and Latin American upstream operations Ali Moshiri said.

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