Business between the Kingdom and Israel seems to be going well. Last Monday, Minister of Industry Ryad Mezzour and Israeli Minister of Economy and Industry Orna Barbivay concluded bilateral cooperation agreements on standardization and regulation between private sector entities (employer organizations , chambers of commerce, etc.) and in terms of research and development (R&D) and innovation.
The memorandum of understanding also aims to facilitate and promote investment and trade between the two countries in the sectors of Industry 4.0, which is emerging as the convergence of digital design, food, automotive, aviation, textile, water and renewable energy technologies, medical equipment and pharmaceutical industry. Since the restoration of relations between Morocco and Israel and the normalization that followed, cooperation agreements in various fields have emerged and some of them have opened up the opportunity for Israeli oil companies to prospect for oil and gas off the coast of Morocco.
In this regard, the National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines of Morocco (ONHYM) signed an agreement last September with the company Ratio Gibraltar, a subsidiary of the Israeli oil company Ratio Petroleum. Thanks to this agreement, the latter obtained an exclusive license to explore for oil and gas off Dakhla (Bloc Dakhla Atlantique, with an area of approximately 109,000 km2). Another Israeli company operating in exploration has entered the fray and has serious ambitions for the development and production of natural gas and oil. We knew it as Delek Drilling, now it comes under a new name NewMed Energy. The group, which operates gas fields off Israel and is also experimenting with blue hydrogen and renewable energy, has decided to work on expansion projects and Morocco is obviously in its sights.
NewMed CEO Yossi Abu said during a press briefing on Tuesday February 22 that his group will be ” an innovative and leading energy entity that will maximize the value of existing base assets and promote important processes such as the expansion of Leviathan (gas field on the Mediterranean near the Israeli coast)and the development of the Aphrodite reservoir (Cyprus), alongside the launch of natural gas exploration and production in other MENA countries“. In this latest ambition expressed by the CEO of the NewMed Energy group, Yossi Abu, the group has identified Morocco as “a country with enormous geological and commercial potential“.
Yossi Abu also clarified that NewMed Energy was particularly interested in Moroccan coastal areas in the Mediterranean and North Atlantic. So he selected Morocco as a growth area. The energy sector in Morocco is also presented as preponderant in the broad sense and the positive investments in renewable energies in Morocco are not in the realm of fiction. To this end, therefore, exploration is planned off the coast of the Kingdom, in the Atlantic Ocean and in the Mediterranean. For Israel, Morocco is an attractive investment option, given its geostrategic stability.
This announcement by NewMed Energy was made the day after the signing in Rabat of an economic cooperation agreement between Morocco and Israel. In the wake of the resumption of relations, therefore, Israeli oil and gas companies are jostling at the gate of the Kingdom with the ambition of oil and gas exploration. Israel, in its quest for a geographical and financial extension which also benefits its partners (Jordan, Egypt, Cyprus, etc.), is in the process of putting down one by one its pawns which for the time being have opened up the shores of the Mediterranean to it. and brought it to the Atlantic coastal shores of North Africa.
In addition, NewMed transforms offshore gas into hydrogen and will combine it with local carbon capture and storage (CCS). “NewMed Energy aspires to be a leader in the alternative energy industry, primarily the production of blue hydrogen from natural gas, as well as carbon capture and entry into renewable energy. Exactly as Delek Drilling was, NewMed Energy will continue to be a key energy anchor in the region, with the aim of providing our investors with both a stable dividend yield and growth.said CEO Abu.