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Business in Brief: Environment and Energy Dominate News – Jean R. AbiNader

Jean R. AbiNader, MATIC
September 22, 2016

Jean R. AbiNader, Exec. Dir., Moroccan American Trade and Investment Center

Jean R. AbiNader, Exec. Dir., Moroccan American Trade and Investment Center

Ahead of the Conference of the Parties (COP) 22 summit scheduled for November in Morocco, a number of pre-meetings are being held in the US and elsewhere to shape the agenda and calls for action. Whatever resolutions are adopted will have a direct impact on the private sector both as participants in solving environmental issues and by the impact of proposed regulations. Morocco, as host for COP 22, is actively participating in defining priorities for the conference and setting issues for the agenda.

Other good news came from the energy sector, as a major gas transmission pipeline was repaired and a new commercial gas find was announced. And a well-known Moroccan digital media maven took on a new role in MENA’s digital universe.

COP 22: Morocco Hits the Ground Running  At the 2016 Our Ocean Conference, Moroccan Minister Delegate in Charge of the Environment Dr. Hakima El Haite addressed a panel on “Oceans and the Environment,” in which she called for a “world partnership to establish a real vision and strategy to address oceans.” She pointed out that “The oceans are not just part of an environmental agenda, but an economic agenda and human agenda.”

In an interview with ClimateWire, Minister El Haite said she wants countries at COP 22 to begin weighing whether to broaden the 2015 pledges that underpin the pact, which were limited to actions on emissions and adaptation, to include specific actions they would take to protect oceans. As an indication of its commitment, Morocco announced a partnership with France and the Principality of Monaco to ensure better protection of the biodiversity and richness of Mediterranean Sea against climate change.

New Onshore Gas Discovery: Sound Energy announced a significant discovery in the TAGI reservoir at Tendrara, onshore Morocco. The next steps include raising more investment funds to underwrite a pipeline and second well, with the goal of proving even more reserves through sub-horizontal drilling, an effective technology for bringing previously hard-to-exploit fields online. The proposed pipeline will connect Tendrara to the Gazoduc Maghreb Europe (GME) pipeline, which connects Algerian gas to Europe through Morocco.

Circle Oil, the international oil and gas exploration, development and production company announced the completion of gas pipeline repairs to a section displaced by earth tremors near Kenitra. The pipeline spur was used to transport approximately 30% of the gas produced in the Sebou field, owned by Circle Oil Maroc (who operate the field with a working interest of 75%) and ONHYM  – the Moroccan agency responsible for gas and oil oversight (with a working interest of 25%).

Russian Shopping Bear is Coming:  As a follow-up to the recent official visit of King Mohammed VI to Russia and his meetings with President Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials, bilateral relations have gained new momentum. The Morocco-Russia Business Forum will be held in Marrakech on November 5, 2016 to continue the development and reinforcement of successful business and cultural links between Morocco and Russia.

Minister of Agriculture Aziz Akhannouch noted at the announcement of the upcoming event that, “This potential should allow Morocco to improve its position in the Russian market.” He added that the kingdom is stepping up efforts to diversify its agricultural supply to this market. Last year, Russia imported about 15% of the total value of food exports from Morocco. Akhannouch said that agricultural exports increased by 35% between the two export seasons 2014/2015 and 2015/2016.

Award-winning Moroccan Media Producer Takes on New Role: Driss Sekkat, has joined the global social media digital production firm never.no [ www.never.no/ ] as VP of Business Development for the MENA region. Sekkat achieved a stellar reputation as an international member of ESPN’s “Sportscenter,” and on CNN’s “Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.” He was a member of the launch team for Sportscenter’s international edition and has been a producer for CNN on overseas assignments. In the announcement, Sekkat stated, “I am so thrilled to be joining the never.no team. As a creator of TV content and formats across global markets, I look forward to bringing [never.no’s] product to many more screens around the world.”

As COP 22 and the UN-related conferences unfold this coming week, you can count on Morocco taking a high profile in raising concerns and proposing solutions to some of the world’s most vexing environment, humanitarian, and political issues. The private sector and NGO communities are being called upon to be full participants in developing solutions to environmental challenges.

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