Morocco signs gas exploration agreement with Israel's NewMed

Morocco signs gas exploration agreement with Israel's NewMed
2 min read
11 December, 2022
Israel's NewMed Energy signed a deal with Morocco's energy and mining ministry for offshore natural gas exploration and production in the North African country.
The deal still requires regulatory approval in Morocco [Getty]

Israel's NewMed Energy (NWMDp.TA) said on Tuesday it signed a deal with Morocco's energy and mining ministry and Adarco Energy for offshore natural gas exploration and production in the North African country.

NewMed and Adarco will each have a 37.5% stake in the Boujdour Atlantique licence, NewMed said. The ministry will hold the remaining 25%.

"For a long time now we have recognised a huge potential in Morocco for collaborations in both the natural gas and renewable energy sectors," NewMed CEO Yossi Abu said.

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The Boujdour Atlantique licence is in the southern part of Morocco's offshore economic zone and was granted for eight years, the company said.

It said the plan is to begin surveys of the prospect and then conduct exploratory drilling after about two and a half years. The deal still requires regulatory approval in Morocco.

NewMed is a main stakeholder in Israel's huge Leviathan offshore gas field and is looking to merge with Capricorn Energy (CNE.L) to create a gas producer focused on Israel and Egypt.

Israel and Morocco normalised relations under the Abraham Accords in December 2020, and have since begun to cooperate in fields including tourism and military technology.

The signing of the US-brokered accords by Morocco, as well as fellow Arab states Bahrain and the UAE, was met with outrage from Palestinians, who said such deals reward Israel while it continues to occupy the West Bank and besiege the Gaza Strip.

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The signing of the deal was also met with outrage from the Moroccan public, who have long been vocal backers of the Palestinian cause.

Support from Moroccans for Palestine has been seen throughout the ongoing World Cup in Qatar, with Moroccan footballers holding up Palestinian flags following match wins and fans chanting and singing in support of Palestine in the stadiums.

(Reuters, The New Arab)