LONDON Oct 15 Oil major BP has struck a
deal with U.S.-based Kosmos Energy for a share in the
exploration of three blocks off the coast of Morocco.
Modern technology has helped firms to discover huge new oil
and gas fields over the last decade in regions that were
formerly overlooked, not least Africa's Atlantic coast.
Kosmos Energy, which specialises in exploration and
production in frontier and emerging areas, said BP had acquired
a non-operating interest in the Essaouira, Assaka and Tarhazoute
blocks in Morocco's Agadir Basin.
Drilling will start in the first half of 2014, Kosmos Chief
Executive Brian Maxted said in a statement.
Under the agreement, BP will fund Kosmos's share of the cost
of one exploration well in each of the three blocks and pay a
disproportionate share of the cost in the event that a second
well is drilled in any block.
BP declined to put a value on its investment.
"It is over 25,000 sq km of new area for us," said spokesman
Robert Wine. "It fits with our exploration strategy of looking
for significant opportunities in new basins."
Morocco has attracted a growing number of companies in
recent years, including the second largest U.S. oil company
Chevron, with the promise of a link to the energy-rich
geological formations of west Africa.
The announcement sent the shares of Fastnet Oil & Gas
, a junior partner in the Assaka block, up around 14
percent by 1240 GMT. BP shares rose about 1.3 percent.
The agreement remains subject to Moroccan government
approval, Kosmos said. The U.S.-listed independent will keep
about a 30 percent share in each of the three blocks. BP will
have a 45 percent share in two of the blocks and a 26.3 percent
share in Assaka once the deal is closed.