Genel Energy, the oil and gas giant led by former-BP frontman Tony Hayward, has signed a petroleum agreement with the Moroccan Office National des Hydrocarbures et de Mines (ONHYM).
Under the agreement, which is still subject to the approval of the Moroccan government, Genel is granted a 75 per cent equity interest in, and operatorship of, the Mir Left Offshore Block, offshore Morocco. The other 25% will be held by ONHYM.
As part of the deal, Genel must acquire a minimum of 400 square km of 3D seismic data and to drill one exploration well during the three-year initial exploration period, which it will fund from its existing cash resources.
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There are two further optional exploration periods of three years and two years respectively.
The block covers an area of 3,259 square kilometres with water depth ranging from 60 to 320 metres. It lies adjacent to, and to the north-east of, the Sidi Moussa Offshore Block in which Genel Energy recently acquired a 60% equity interest.
Dr. John Hurst Chief Operating Officer of Africa for Genel, said: "We are delighted to have signed this new block, further deepening our position in the fairway associated with the proven working petroleum system in offshore Morocco. We intend to commence the acquisition of 3D seismic in January 2013, with the aim of drilling our first well in 2014."
The share price fell 1.1% to 811p by 13:53.
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