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Morocco Plans Shale-Gas Test Drilling in Second Half of 2011

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Dec. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Morocco plans to drill to test for shale gas in the second half of 2011 as it seeks to decrease reliance on fuel imports, said Haddou Jabour, an official at the country’s energy regulatory body.

Studies conducted by the state-run Office National Des Hydrocarbures et Des Mines and its foreign partners showed that the kingdom has “good potential” in shale gas, Jabour, promotion and partnership manager at the office known as ONHYM, said in an interview yesterday in Marrakech.

“We started working on the studies in June this year, which showed very encouraging indicators,” Jabour said. “The next step is to drill wells to properly assess the shale gas potential and invest in acquiring new data, including seismic data.”

ONHYM last year signed contracts with three international companies to conduct preliminary studies in areas including the Tadla block, Jabour added.

Morocco relies on imports to cover around 95 percent of its energy needs, according to the North African country’s Energy, Mines and Water Minister Amina Benkhadra.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ola Galal in Cairo at ogalal@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at sev@bloomberg.net

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