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    Qatar Petroleum’s Gas Exploration Morocco Sparks Fears in Spain

    The Qatari firm previously bought a stake in Morocco’s oil exploration in a display of the two countries’ increasing cooperation.

    22 Nov 2021

    Rabat - Morocco has renewed the license for Qatar Petroleum to explore for oil in its southern waters, near the Canary Islands, sparking worries among Spanish officials, according to the Spanish press.

    The Qatari company’s interests in Morocco go back to 2019, when the Italian company Eni, who owns 75% of the exploration rights in the region, sold 30% of its share to Qatar Petroleum, making the two partners.

    “This agreement represents another important milestone in our partnership roadmap with Eni, and further strengthens our distinguished long term relationship with the Kingdom of Morocco,” the CEO of Qatar Petroleum, Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, said at the time.

    Qatar Petroleum operates similar offshore operations in Mozambique, Oman, and Mexico.

    The region in question includes Tan Tan, Sidi Ifni, and Tarfaya, but officials in the Canary Islands have expressed “extreme concerns.”

    “These prospects are located near Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, but if they were to find gas and start drilling, there would be an environmental danger in the case of an accident,” officials from the Canarian Coalition, a Canarian nationalist party, told El Espanol.

    Similar campaigns in Tarfaya had sparked criticism from Canarian authorities before, although Morocco repeatedly reassured them that the Islands will not be impacted.

    Early last year, Morocco passed laws delimiting its maritime borders with Spain, in a bid to settle the decades-long contention that surrounded its borders facing the Canary Islands.

    The new maritime borders gave Morocco exclusive authority over research, economic activity, and resources in the area, in accordance with international law.

    The move was met with widespread backlash from Spain, with the Spanish press calling foul play and demanding that Spain take action against the decision.

    Earlier this year, Morocco’s Minister of Energy, Mines and Environment Aziz Rabbah discussed the bilateral energy relations between Morocco and Qatar with his Qatari counterpart.

    The two countries pledged to strengthen their energy cooperation, including in green energy.


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