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Schuepbach Wins Approval to Step Up Spain Energy Search

Schuepbach Energy, a U.S. oil and gas explorer, won permission to carry out magnetic and electric imaging in its search for energy in southern Spain near Tarifa.

The Dallas-based company may use magnetotelluric technology to complement its seismic studies, Spain’s Industry Ministry said in an order published today. Schuepbach said the geology’s “complexity” requires probing beyond conventional seismic testing, according to the order governing two six-year licenses for the 2.7 million-euro ($3.7 million) project.

Schuepbach is one of more than a dozen foreign explorers trying to find oil and gas in energy-poor Spain. The company’s Spanish unit won the permits in 2011, the year its French shale-exploration licenses were canceled when that country banned hydraulic fracturing. Schuepbach has permission to explore on land and under the ocean floor at the sites in Cadiz province, at the windy southern tip of Spain, a mecca for windsurfers and kitesurfers.

Magnetotelluric studies can sometimes pinpoint the existence of oil or gas in rock by testing their resistance to magnetic signals.

Martin Schuepbach, formerly a senior exploration executive with Exxon Mobil Corp., founded the company in 2007 with CIC Partners of Dallas, according to information on that investment firm’s website. Officials at Schuepbach in Dallas didn’t respond to phone calls seeking comment out of office hours.

The company’s Spanish unit, Schuepbach Energy Espana SLU, owns 85 percent of the licenses. A 15 percent stake is held by Vancast Exploration SL, whose Chairman Ignacio Diaz de Berricano is a former director of exploration for Spanish oil company Repsol SA, according to Vancast’s website.

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