Gulfsands Petroleum has finalised agreements with Morocco's Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines (ONHYM) for the acquisition of a majority stake in the newly created Moulay Bouchta license block.

Gulfsands will operate the permit with a 75% participating stake while ONHYM will retain a 25% interest.

The company will carry all the costs for the exploration phase of the permit, which is adjacent to the company’s existing permits, Fes and Rharb Sud.

The permit spans 2,850km² and represents the remaining prospective acreage in the area, where the existence of a working petroleum system has been confirmed with the discovery and development of three oil fields.

Oil was produced from shallow reservoirs, to a depth of about 1,200m, and Gulfsands intends to explore the potential of deeper and potentially larger structures.

Gulfsands said a portion of the permit area has already been the subject of a 175km² 3D seismic survey and the data together with legacy 2D seismic data over other portions of the license area will be supplemented by regional seismic data previously acquired by the company.

In addition to the reprocessing and interpretation of legacy 2D and 3D seismic data, a further 500km of 2D seismic data is anticipated to be captured in a survey to be conducted during the first two year exploration period.

Gulfsands will also carry out a legacy oil field reactivation study during the first exploration period, as part of a minimum exploration work program, which is anticipated to cost about $3.5m.