MILAN, Italy, March 30 (UPI) -- Italian energy company Eni said Wednesday it took over operations at a frontier area in the deep waters off the coast of Morocco.
For an undisclosed sum, Eni took a 40 percent stake in the Rabat deepwater exploration area offshore Morocco in a deal with Chariot Oil & Gas.
"The area is so far unexplored and with prospect of finding liquid hydrocarbons," the Italian company said in a statement.
At a time when energy companies are reassessing their portfolios to adjust to lower crude oil prices, Chariot said the agreement allows it focus more on transformational growth opportunities while maintaining a 10 percent stake offshore Morocco. According to Chariot, the Rabat area could hold up to 768 million barrels of oil.
Morocco is one of the West African countries that have drawn interest from international energy companies eager to tap into unexploited reserves. Chariot said the Rabat offshore reserve area is situated near other potential oil-bearing prospects.
For Eni, the deal gives it a stronger portfolio in frontier areas.
"This agreement will enable Eni to expand its presence in the Atlantic Margin of an important region such as the North Africa, in line with the company's strategy aimed at diversifying its exploration portfolio in basins with high hydrocarbons potential," it said in a statement.