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U.S. oil company latest to move on Morocco

Jan. 3, 2013 at 9:43 AM

HOUSTON, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- U.S. company Plains Exploration and Production said it aims to start drilling in a highly prospective play off the coast of Morocco.

Plains Exploration and Production Co., which has headquarters in Houston, said it plans to make a $15 million cash payment to buy into the 2.7 million-acre Mazagan license area off the coast of Morocco. The company said an independent audit in September determined the area may contain more than 7 billion barrels of prospective recoverable resources.

Plains will serve as the operator of the license area outlined in the deal, subject to the approval of the Moroccan government. The company said it plans to drill at least two wells in the area by 2014.

Morocco has seen growing interest from international oil and natural gas companies. Last month, Gulfsands Petroleum said it was spending around $19 billion for "highly prospective oil and gas" acres in northern Morocco. In August, Turkish company Genel Energy made a similar move with a $1.3 million investment.

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