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4,712 Km2

exploration permits

April 2018

8 years


Area: 4,712 km​2

Status: Exploration Permits

Effective date: April 2018

Term: 8 years

Resource potential: to be defined


  • Sound Energy 75%

Extra Information


  • Play type: gas discovery (Kechoula) in the Lower Liassic sequence, (73 Bscf net to Sound, initial estimate, single accumulation most likely), deeper upside potential in Triassic (TAGI) and Paleozoic
  • Two wells drilled with positive gas indications from log and gas shows in the Liassic.
  • Unrisked up to 11.2 Tcf exploration potential (Net to Sound) following interpretation of the existing 2D seismic. 
  • Risked up to 3 Tcf exploration potential targeting the Triassic (TAGI) objective; net to Sound
  • Asset is located 10km from the Meskala gas processing plant

Permit Area

  • The Sidi Mokhtar permit is located in the Essaouira Basin in central Morocco (Western sea border) and is sub-divided into three blocks (North, South and West) with a combined area of 4,500 square km.
  • Adjacent to and surrounding the Permit is the Meskala Field, a gas/condensate discovery, which has been producing since the late 1980s and represents one of the most significant discoveries in Morocco to date.
  • The Sidi Moktar permit itself hosts some 40 wells, a pipeline and production facilities for gas and condensate.

The Geology and Activity History

There are four Exploration plays within the Sidi Mokhtar permit:

  • PS1 Argovian (sandy dolomite) which has given rise to five discoveries (Jeer, Kechoula, Sidi Rhalem, Toukimt and N’Dark).
  • PS2 Low Liasssic (sandstone) which has given rise to two discoveries (Zelten and Kechoula).
  • PS3 Triassic (TAGI equivalent) which has given rise to one discovery (Meskala); and
  • PS4 Paleozoic Devonian cabonates which remain frontier exploration, gas shows present in penetrations beneath the Meskala field with one well testing gas.

Essaouira Basin history

  • Historically, 84 wells have been drilled in the Essaouira basin with discoveries in the lower liassic and triassic having the highest discovery ratio. Additionally, 7000 km of seismic have been acquired since the late 1950s.

1950s and 1960s

  • Exploration in the basin began in the 1950s resulting in in the discovery of two small gas fields (Kechoula in 1957 and Jeer in 1958) and one oil field (Sidi Rhalem in 1961).


  • By 1970, 35 onshore wells and one offshore well had been drilled, of which 12 were classed as appraisal/development.  From 1974 to 1980, a further 13 wells were drilled with the aid of multi-fold 2D seismic resulting in three further discoveries at Toukimt (1976), at N’Dark (1976) and at Meskala (1977).


  • The development of the Meskala Field gave rise to the discovery of gas-condensate in Triassic clastics at 3500m and a DST yielded a flow rate of 12 MMscf/d.  Between 1980 and 1987 a further 28 wells were drilled including 9 development wells at Meskala, two of which were the deepest stratigraphic tests in the basin (4.3km), proving the possibility of Ordovician sands as a second potential Palaeozoic target.

Most recent history

  • In 2009, Magreb Petroleum Exploration (MPE) signed a Petroleum Agreement with ONHYM to secure a 75% interest in the Sidi Mokhtar North, South and West licenses, the remaining 25% being held by ONHYM (the Moroccan NOC).  MPE subsequently farmed out a 50% working interest operated position to Petromaroc (formerly Longreach) in exchange for a full carry to first commercial gas.  During the course of 2013 and 2014, Petromaroc drilled two wells which both had gas shows but which were never completed and tested.   In January 2016, Sound secured and retained MPE’s 25% carried interest in the license and in March 2016  secured Petromaroc’s 50%.

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