Delek Drilling (TASE: DEDR) CEO Yossi Abu revealed today that the company is in advanced negotiations for offshore oil and gas exploration licenses in Morocco. Abu said that the company has identified Morocco as a country with huge potential both geologically and commercially. He added that Delek Drilling is in talks for licenses in both the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean.
Abu said that as the son of Moroccan immigrants to Israel he had been very moved to receive a personal letter from Morocco's King Mohamed VI with an invitation to operate in the country.
Abu said, "Morocco is in a similar situation to Israel 15 years ago. The country has regulatory stability, huge geological potential and a genuine desire to shift from producing electricity from coal to producing it from gas. We see things there and I hope that soon we will be able to report on it."
Abu was speaking today at a special ceremony in Tel Aviv to rename Delek Drilling as NewMed Energy. The event offered a rare opportunity to hear from Yitzhak Tshuva, the controlling shareholder in NewMed's parent company Delek Group Ltd. (TASE:DLEKG), which also has major North Sea oil and gas reserves through its Ithaca Energy unit.
Tshuva said that over the past decade the company had done the inconceivable by declaring eight natural gas finds including some of the biggest in the world. "NewMed Energy will put the State of Israel on the world energy map. We have changed the face of the Middle East and built bridges of peace between the countries and their leaders - brotherhood and friendship. We have formed unprecedented cooperation between Israeli companies and organizations and companies in Arab countries. We have created a new geopolitical situation that did not exist in the past.
Tshuva continued, "Today I tell you here with my complete belief that this is only the start. I have no doubt that in the future NewMed expects great successes. We will expand to the second stage of the Leviathan field and deepen our regional cooperation with other countries, we will enter the liquefied gas market and work to develop the Aphrodite field - Cyprus's first gas discovery. We will expand drilling and production to new targets. We will invest in technological developments and bring about a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions."
Referring to Delek's near collapse at the start of the Covid pandemic when energy prices plunged, Tshuva told investors, "Today we can say proudly. Those who believed in Delek Group and stayed with us, profited big time."
Abu presented NewMed's future plans, which include expanding gas exports to Egypt via Jordan, as the company becomes more integrated into the region. Last year, Delek Drilling sold its 22% stake in the offshore Tamar gas field to Abu Dhabi's state-owned Mubadala Petroleum for $1 billion.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on February 22, 2022.
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