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Morocco is preparing to launch a tender for a natural gas project worth US$4.6 billion, the country’s Energy Minister Aziz Rabbah said in a Bloomberg interview. The gas will be used for power generation, he added.
The project will involve the construction of a gas processing plant, Rabbah also said, noting that the government has already selected the financial and technical consultants for the undertaking.
Morocco has proved reserves of some 1.44 billion cubic meters of natural gas, according to the CIA World Factbook, with production at less than 100 million cu m as of 2015. There are hopes, however, that it could become an international player on the gas market. One UK company is so optimistic about Morocco’s natural gas production potential that it last year even started divesting from other locations to focus its attention on Morocco.
Sound Energy said last October that it would focus exclusively on Morocco, where it has acreage with reserves estimated at 17 trillion cu ft of gas. The flagship field in the area is Tendrara, which is estimated to contain about 1 trillion cu ft of gas. Sound Energy’s partner in the Moroccan venture is Schlumberger.
Morocco is also a potential client of U.S. liquefied natural gas. At the end of last year, media slammed EPA chief Scott Pruitt for traveling to the North African country to promote U.S. LNG.
With no significant crude oil reserves, Morocco is ahead of many more developed countries in terms of renewable energy. It is home to what will be the world’s largest solar power installation once completed: the Noor plant in the Sahara Desert. The plant has two phases already in operation, with a third on the way.
The combined capacity of Noor’s three phases will be north of 500 MW and the last one should be completed by the end of this year.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.