Predator prepared for extension of Morocco lockdown

30 June 2020

(Sharecast News) - Trinidad, Morocco and Ireland-focussed oil and gas company Predator Oil & Gas updated the market on Tuesday, following an announcement from Moroccan authorities the Covid-19 state of emergency in the country was being extended to 10 July.
The London-listed firm noted that during that extension, there would be an easing of some current restrictions.

It said the safe execution of its proposed drilling programme for the Guercif Permits I, II, III and IV, onshore Morocco, remained "the most important single objective" for the board and management.

Predator operates Guercif with a 75% interest, in joint venture with the Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines (ONHYM), acting on behalf of the Moroccan state, with a 25% interest.

The company said that during the lockdown, the Star Valley Rig 101 had remained securely stacked in the country, ready for mobilisation when circumstances permitted.

NuTech had completed a modern petrophysical analysis of the GRF-1 well, reporting that the gross interval between 1,386 and 1,413 metres true vertical depth had interpreted gas saturations in the range 37% to 51%, while a gross interval between 1,635 and 1,925 metres true vertical depth had gas saturations between 30% and 72%.

The new petrophysical analysis supported the presence of a gas charge, and was consistent with thermogenic gas shows - mainly methane, but with traces of ethane and propane - recorded on the GRF-1 mud logs, and the small volume of gas recovered on a formation iInterval test at the time of drilling in 1972, the board explained.

It said the NuTech analysis identified the upper part of the interval between 1,386 and 1,413 metres true vertical depth in GRF-1 as a new additional target for the first exploration well.

As a result, the well would present an opportunity to evaluate the western edge of a newly-interpreted tertiary fan complex, covering an area of between 20 and 25 square kilometres.

A successful drilling result would prove the geological concept, and de-risk a large area previously regarded as being less prospective, and thus not included in estimates of potential gas resources, Predator said.

Finally, the company said SLR Environmental Consulting Ireland had been appointed to carry out a review of the technical feasibility of transporting compressed natural gas from a potential Guercif production site to the Moroccan centres of industrial production.

Potential market size and Indicative costs of CNG transportation would be related to the specific Moroccan infrastructure environment, which includes a railroad passing through Guercif linking Guercif to the country's industrial and commercial centres.

Predator said the study would assess the potential for early monetisation of gas discovered at Guercif, with other options to develop an integrated gas business in Morocco being assessed for regulatory, technical and commercial feasibility, including subsurface gas storage at Guercif in the context of security of energy supply, and a floating storage and regasification unit.

It said the presence of gas infrastructure linking Morocco with Europe, and the demand for both gas-to-power and to replace coal and oil to reduce carbon emissions, was a scenario the company was "very familiar with" in Ireland.

"Guercif is pivotal to the company in terms of developing a gas business utilising the excellent infrastructure that exists in Morocco," said chief executive officer Paul Griffiths.

"We are ready to progress the drilling programme as soon as Covid-19 public health restrictions are eased to facilitate the recommencement of safe operations.

"We have used lockdown to define additional Guercif prospectivity and to review potential LNG markets suitable for floating storage and regasification unit penetration in those countries, where management has a long history of experience and understanding."

Griffiths said the business environment was changing, and the firm needed to adapt to change and use the experience and understanding to maximise its business development opportunities.

"Post Covid-19 will require significant coordinated effort to rebuild economies and natural gas will be an inevitable and pragmatic contributor to this evolutionary process, whilst providing jobs, government taxes and security of flexible energy supply necessary for inward investment."

At 0948 BST, shares in Predator Oil & Gas Holdings were down 0.25% at 3.94p.