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Drilling for Oil May Start Next Year

Monday November 14, 2011

Drilling for Oil May Start Next Year

Exploratory searches for petrol off the coast of Morocco and only 50 kilometres from Lanzarote and Fuerteventura are likely to begin in the near future. After The Government of Morocco recently granted permits to the Australian company Tangiers Petroleum Limited.

The exploitation of the area off the coast of Tarfaya and Ifni would see several oil rigs installed across the 15,041 square kilometres of the site, which borders the waters in which the Canary Islands lie.

A leading local ecology group, Equo, voiced concerns yesterday about the potential harm such exploration could cause the Canary Islands tourist industry, should there be any oil spills such as that seen in the Gulf of Mexico last year.

Spokesperson for Equo, Pilar Alvarez has raised the issue at the Canarian Congress in Las Palmas, insisting that the Moroccan Government would need to ensure minimum guarantees of environmental protection. The waters around the Canarian archipelago have already been declared an Especially Sensitive Maritime Zone (ZMES) by the International Maritime Organization.

Equo is calling for a moratorium on petrol exploration in the sea and a greater concentration of funds in renewable energies. However, the Government of Morocco stands to gain 25% of any income arising from the exploitation of oil in its waters, with Tangiers Petroleum Limited receiving the remaining 75%.

Tangiers Petroleum Limited believes that there is up to a billion barrels of oil in the area known as the Tarfaya Block and they aim to get two wells up and running before the end of 2012. Repsol, the Spanish petroleum company already has a presence in the area, with its own Tangier-Larache blocks.

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