Report from Morocco Oil & Gas 2014 Summit


The Morocco Oil & Gas 2014 Summit was held at the Hotel Pullman Palmeraie in Marrakech on 7th – 8th May 2014.

The Summit has been organised by International Research Networks, a leading business intelligence group, transmitting information through the medium of highly topical Conferences, Summits, Round Tables, Reviews and Publications.

The Summit, fully endorsed by the National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines (ONHYM), attracted more than 250 delegates from international oil companies. H.E Abdelkader Amara, Minister of Energy, Mines, Water and Environment of Morocco, opened the event. He referred to potential measures for further increasing Morocco’s attractiveness in his speech.

The Keynote Address was delivered by Ms. Amina Benkhadra, General Director of ONHYM. She stated that 2013 and 2014 have been an unprecedented period of growth for Morocco’s upstream activity, and the ONHYM is continuing its promotional work. Two or three additional agreements could possibly be signed by the end of 2014 in addition to 31 exploration contracts currently in force, as well as five reconnaissance agreements.

Day 1 of the Summit, included insightful presentations by the senior directors of ONHYM, highlighting Morocco’s offshore and onshore exploration opportunities, hydrocarbon legislation and promising petroleum systems. The insights were given by experts in the field including Mr Mohamed Nahim, Exploration Director at ONHYM; Mr Redouane Hajjaj, Head of the Petroleum Agreements Management Department; and Mr Abdellah Ait Salem, Basin Evaluation Division Manager.

Amongst the major operators in Morocco, Ben Conley, Morocco Asset Manager at Cairn Energy, and Duncan Wallace, Exploration Manager at Chariot Oil & Gas, presented on their exploration plans and activities, including offshore and onshore activities. Later that day, Rick Eisenberg, Africa Frontier Exploration and Appraisal Manager, and Carl Atallah, Vice President and Country Manager of Platinum Sponsor Chevron discussed opportunities in Morocco and what it takes to be successful in frontier exploration in the country. The American major is due to start seismic shooting promptly and plans to multiply drilling offshore Agadir. Mr Atallah stated that part of their appeal is that this area has not been explored before. He then added “exploration is a risky business, and even in a success case, it will be a very long time before Morocco sees the kind of benefits associated with oil and gas production.”

After a full day of exclusive insights and networking, the delegation were taken to a Networking Reception, sponsored by Genel Energy, allowing participants to pursue business conversations with senior representatives from the Ministry of Energy, Mines, Water and Environment, the ONHYM and the main oil and gas operators and service providers of the industry. The evening pleasantly continued at the Tigmiza Palace for a prestigious Gala Dinner, hosted by Gulfsands Petroleum.

Day 2 featured presentations on Morocco onshore and offshore developments by Mahdi Sajjad, President and CEO at Gulfsands Petroleum; Paul Griffiths, Managing Director at Fastnet Oil & Gas; and Gerald Lane, Finance Director at Kosmos Energy. Gerald explained more about the unexplored basins offering potentially high volume and high value barrels. He stated that the excellent investment climates – one of the best in Africa – and the good alignment with Government authorities on hydrocarbon exploration, are among the reasons for exploration.

Shale oil and gas were discussed by the experts in the field; Walid Sinno, Middle East and North Africa Director at San Leon Energy; Hussein Abdallah, Exploration Manager Morocco and Mauritania at Repsol, and Mike Hoffmann, Exploration Manager North Africa at Gold Sponsor Anadarko. They explained that their objectives in terms of unconventional resources are to explore alternatives to accelerate development and help to establish a profitable oil and gas shale industry.

Gold Sponsor CGG, represented by Rob Crossley, Chief Geologist, also presented on geological and geophysical integration for successful exploration of the Moroccan offshore.

Finally, Franck Le Baron, Vice President International Projects at Elengy; Fabrice Fortin, Head of Gas and LNG Market Developments North Africa at Royal Dutch Shell – Integrated Gas; and Laurent Thery, Senior Vice President International Business Development at GDF Suez, hosted a session on the Moroccan downstream sector focusing on natural gas and LNG terminals. Morocco is aiming at diversifying its energy mix for better energy efficiency and, according to Mr Fortin, gas and LNG are keys to achieving the national energy strategy goals.

The Marrakech Farewell Night, sponsored by Kosmos Energy, took place at the magnificent Soleiman Palace, facilitating exclusive networking opportunities with international oil and gas thought leaders.

Amongst companies that attended the Summit were AVA Newpark, Baker Hughes, Caithness Petroleum, Clifford Chance, ConocoPhillips, Dan-Bunkening Middle East, Dolphin Geophysical, Enel, Ernst & Young, Freeport McMoRan Oil & Gas, Galp Energia, Genesis Oil & Gas, Glencore UK, GPS Intl, Halliburton, Impact Oil & Gas, Integrated Geochemical Interpretation (IGI), ION Geophysical, Jotun MENA, Kerui Group, Lafarge Maroc, Longreach Oil & Gas, Mubadala Petroleum, New Age Morocco, OGRPP – Guinea, OneSubsea, Polarcus, PwC, Saham Assurance, Sanad, Saipem, Sotaserv, Spectrum, Sumitomo Corporation, Svenska Petroleum, Technip, Teredo Oils, TGS, Total Safety and Xodus Group. The Ministry of Economy and Finance and West African guests from Mali, Guinea, Senegal, Mauritania and Gabon were also present.

Official Supporters of the Summit included the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Services of Casablanca, Cedigaz, the Moroccan Association of Petroleum Geologists and GEP AFTP. IRN donated a substantial amount of the Summit proceedings to its Charity Partner, L’Heure Joyeuse.

For more information on the second edition of the Morocco Oil & Gas Summit that will take place next year, please visit the website

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Radosław Budzowski

Logistics Manager in YoungPetro, third year student of Oil and Gas Engineering at the Faculty of Drilling, Oil and Gas at AGH. Interested in reservoir engineering and gas industry. Privately badminton and travels enthusiast.

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