Will Morocco Finally Realize Its Shale Dream?

July 21, 2015

The unconventional gas revolution has begun spreading to ever more countries around the world. Many regions outside North America believes that the shale gas boom can be replicated thus transforming their economic prospects. For energy-importing countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), unconventional energy production would not be just a boon for the economy but a matter of survival in times of declining competitiveness and political instability. Morocco is a case in point.
The country, located on the northwest tip of Africa, is more than 90 percent dependent on foreign energy imports. Crude oil and coal purchases accounted for almost 3 percent of the country’s GDP ($3 billion) and energy purchases made up 23 percent of total imports in 2013. Natural gas consumption is relatively low at around 42 billion cubic feet (bcf) per year but expected to rise in the future as Morocco tries to cut its energy import bill and move to gas-fire power generation.
Fig.1 Share of Technical Recoverable Shale Gas Resources in MENA

Source: EIA
The government hopes to meet growing gas demand by boosting domestic production. So far that has proved difficult, but there are reasons to be optimistic.