Morocco approves Sound Energy natural gas pipeline project

British industrial company Sound Energy received approval from Morocco’s Ministry of Energy for a pipeline project but is waiting to proceed pending negotiations with the Ministry of the Interior, the company has announced.
Sound Energy shared a press release about the approval on January 13, stating that it passed the environmental impact assessment (EIA) by the ministry.
The company is seeking to build and operate a 120-kilometer 20-inch gas pipeline to connect “proposed gas treatment plant and compression station (CPF) to the Gazoduc Maghreb Europe pipeline (GME).” The Maghreb Europe pipeline runs from western Algeria, through Morocco, to southern Spain.
The pipeline project, called the Tendrara Export Pipeline, will cross the Matarka village in the province of Figuig in eastern Morocco and Jerada in order to reach the Maghreb Europe pipeline.
With regards to the environmental impact assessment of the gas treatment plant, the company announced that the project “is progressing well.”
Sound Energy expects to get an approval for the environmental check at a second meeting with the National Committee from the Moroccan Ministry of Energy, Mines, and Environment on January 28.
The company is also in talks with the Ministry of the Interior to obtain rights for the pipeline through “a long-term lease agreement for a 50 meter wide corridor along the entire 120 km length.”
The British firm also reassured that its Gas Sales Agreement (GSA) negotiations continue.
In August 2018, the Moroccan government approved a permit for the British firm to start drilling a fourth well in the region with an eight-year contract, taking effect from October 2019.
On October 29, 2019, Morocco’s National Office of Electricity and Drinking Water (ONEE) signed a memorandum of understanding with Sound Energy to cover the sale of natural gas from the Tendrara concession in eastern Morocco.
Sound Energy said that it is “pleased” to announce the signing of an amendment to the binding memorandum of understanding with ONEE to stretch the period of negotiations for the Gas Sales Agreement to March 31.
“The company continues to work on a Build-Own-Operate-Transfer funding solution for the infrastructure at the Tendrara Concession in parallel with progressing the previously announced proposed sale of a substantial stake in the Company’s Eastern Morocco Portfolio,” the company concluded.
The Moroccan government is satisfied with international companies’ exploration work in eastern Morocco. In December 2019, Morocco’s Minister of Energy Aziz Rabbah said that 13 companies are exploring gas in Morocco.
He added that the gas wells recently explored in Tendrara in eastern Morocco will meet 30% of the country’s oil demands.
Rebbah also said that the government has invested MAD 82 billion in the energy sector.