The company identified unexpected lithology at the KSS-A well, above the primary objectives. The well targeted two objectives in the Miocene Gaddari sands.

KSS-A well CEO Mitch Flegg said: "The drilling conditions at KSS-A proved challenging, and as a result it was decided to plug and abandon the well in order to allow time for a new well design to be engineered.

"This was the most cost-effective approach and it will allow drilling of the KSR-A well to commence ahead of schedule.

"Although we are disappointed to have not reached the prognosed TD of KSS-A, we have minimized any cost implications by quickly moving on to the next well in the campaign."

At present, Circle Oil is assessing the technical data from the well in line with the seismic to evaluate further drilling in the area.

The company will move the rig to drill the Ksiri West (KSR-A) exploration well in the Sebou permit in the Rharb Basin.

The KSR-A exploration well targets Miocene Hoot sandstones in a structurally downthrown location which was penetrated successfully by the KSR-8, KSR-10, KSR-11 and KSR-12 wells, the company said.

Circle Oil Maroc owns 75% stake in the Sebou permit, while Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines (ONHYM) owns the remaining.