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Exploration, development and production company Europa Oil & Gas (Holdings) has received a one-year extension from the Moroccan regulatory body Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines (ONHYM) for the initial phase of the Inezgane exploration permit.

Now, the permit has been extended to November 2022.

The extension was granted for the offshore licence to compensate the time lost in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic.

This extension will allow Europa to finish its ongoing technical work programme, which is focused on de-risking 30 prospects and leads that the firm estimates have the potential to hold in total around ten billion barrels of unrisked oil resources.

Europa has a 75% stake and licence operatorship, which spans an area of 11,228km² in the Agadir Basin.

ONHYM holds the remaining stake in the licence.

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By GlobalData

Following the award of the licence in November 2019, the activity on the licence has been focused on interpreting 3D seismic legacy data to de-risk prospects in the Lower Cretaceous play.

The actual duration of the Inezgane permit was eight years with three exploration phases. The initial phase has two years.

Following the end of the initial phase, Europa has the option to commit to drilling an exploration well in the second phase or to give up the licence.

Europa CEO Simon Oddie said: “We are extremely grateful to the Moroccan authorities for their swift response to the challenges posed by the global pandemic and specifically for granting us a one-year extension to the initial phase of the Inezgane licence.

“The equivalent of approximately 50 UKCS North Sea blocks, Inezgane covers a large area in the Agadir Basin and while much work has already been carried out despite Covid-19, this extension will enable us to build on the encouraging results seen to date, the highlights of which include the mapping by Europa of up to ten billion barrels of unrisked oil resources.

“Inezgane is living up to the promise we identified when we first applied for the licence. With the extension granted, we are now focused on completing the technical work ahead of securing a partner or partners with whom we can work to realise the licence’s substantial potential.”

In a separate development in Africa, Maersk Drilling secured a three-well contract from Total E&P Angola for the seventh-generation drillship Maersk Voyager.

This drillship will be deployed to drill development wells in Angola’s Block 17.

With a duration of 140 days, the contract is valued at approximately $30m.

Maersk Voyager will be contracted until Q2 2021.

The two one-well options included in the drillship’s earlier agreed work scope for Total E&P continues to remain in place.