British company Chariot is about to start production at the Anchois field, off the coast of Larache

The Anchois gas field in Morocco is close to production start-up

Instalaciones gasistas - PHOTO/FILE
PHOTO/FILE -Gas installations

Morocco continues to focus on gas production in order to become more self-sufficient and to be able to become an energy exporter as far as possible.  

Energy resources are important at the moment and the North African country is committed to further developing its industry by investing in renewable energies, such as solar, wind and green hydrogen, and by working on the new deposits that have been discovered in recent years in the area of hydrocarbons, especially those related to natural gas.  

The Moroccan kingdom produces natural gas from small fields, reaching a total of 100 million cubic metres per year. On the other hand, it imports 900 million cubic metres from other countries to cover domestic demand, which is estimated at 1 billion cubic metres per year, according to data from the Ministry of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development. 

Although domestic production will grow with new contributions such as the Anchois gas well, which is about to come on stream off the coast of Larache, in northern Morocco, by the British company Chariot Oil & Gas, or those of Tendrara, managed by another British company that works in Moroccan territory such as Sound Energy, Guersif, El Gharb and Essaouira.  

PHOTO/FILE - Proyecto marroquí de gas
PHOTO/FILE - Moroccan gas project

The discovery of the Anchois field was made in January 2022 and Chariot considered this discovery to be very significant from the outset. Meanwhile, gas projects on Moroccan territory have proliferated in various areas over the years. "Morocco has several onshore and offshore sedimentary basins whose geology has allowed the genesis of different petroleum systems that could potentially be favourable to the accumulation of gas deposits," Abdellah Mouttaqi, secretary general of the National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines (ONHYM), said at the time. 

The projects extend over several territories of the Moroccan kingdom, including offshore Larache, Essaouira, Guersif, Zag, Boudnib, Tendrara and Missour, among others. 

British oil and gas exploration company Chariot Oil & Gas signed with ONHYM to approve the key principles of the long-term sale of future gas production from the Anchois project, offshore Larache. The agreement reflected the strategic partnership between the British company, which focuses its activities in Africa, and ONHYM, in addition to Morocco's National Office of Water and Electricity (ONEE). The agreement was included in the "Lixus Gas" project offshore Larache, in which Chariot has a 75% stake, and ONHYM 25%. 

PHOTO/REUTERS - Imagen de gasoducto
PHOTO/REUTERS - Pipeline image

Amina Benkhadra, CEO of ONHYM, remarked on the "commitment to the development of the Anchois gas field", in partnership with Chariot, which is in the interest of the North African country. 

The Moroccan well in the Lixus licence covers an area of 2,390 square kilometres and the Anchois field has a potential of more than 28 billion cubic metres of gas.  

In relation to the Larache field, the British company Chariot obtained the approval of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Anchois well, one of the most important natural gas exploration fields with a significant exploitation potential that is already close to becoming a reality with the forthcoming start of production.  

The company, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange, said it received this approval from the Ministry of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development, which represents an important step in the development of the project to extract gas from the coast of Larache.

According to the UK company's announcement, the approval is valid for five years and covers all aspects of the development, including future wells, offshore infrastructure and the project's connection to the European Maghreb Gas Pipeline, which previously transported Algerian gas to Spain via Morocco, as reported by TelexPresse. 

"The approval of the EIA is an important step in the implementation of the project," said Pierre Raylard, head of gas business and country manager of Chariot Energy in Morocco, who noted that the permission given in environmental terms for the development of the Anchois field signifies "respect for the highest Moroccan and international environmental standards", as reported by TelexPresse.  

According to Chariot, the potential of this field is estimated at around one billion cubic metres of natural gas annually, and if this is achieved, it will cover all of the Kingdom's annual needs for years to come.

PHOTO/REUTERS/LAZLO BALOGH - Terminal de gas natural

Improving the energy outlook

With this development of the national energy industry, Morocco aims to reduce its dependence on gas imports and increase its energy independence. It will also help economic and employment development in the areas where this new energy industry is proliferating.  

The Minister of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development, Leila Benali, recently explained the proliferation of these new gas reserves, which would allow Morocco to increase its natural gas production by 300%. The goal now is to achieve a production of 400 million cubic metres per year, far exceeding the 100 million cubic metres currently produced per year.