A farm-in by Woodside to deepwater permits in the frontier Doukkala Basin operated by Chariot Oil & Gas off the north-western coast of Morocco has finally been approved by the country’s authorities.

The go-ahead for the deal on Rabat Deep Offshore Permits I-VI, agreed between the two companies mid-2014 (see DI, 7 July 2014, page 10), will see Australian explorer Woodside pay 100% of the 3-D seismic acquisition and processing costs incurred across the acreage by Chariot, as well as other back costs. In addition it has also agreed to carry Chariot on future work up to an agreed cap, including a multibeam side-scan sonar and seabed coring survey.

The majority of these costs have now been received by Chariot. The remaining balance is anticipated to be received during this quarter, when the sonar and seabed survey is also expected to take place.

The permits, all undrilled, cover 10,782 sq km in area and feature water depths ranging from 150-3,600 m (492-11,812 ft).

Chariot remains operator of the licence with a 50% stake, with the Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines retaining 25% and Woodside now holding 25%. The latter also has an option to acquire a further 25% of Chariot’s equity and become operator, in return for a full well carry up to an agreed cap consistent with other farm-outs concluded in the area.