Chevron Corp (NYSE:CVX), one of the world’s four largest integrated companies, is now planning to explore for oil in Morocco’s deep waters in a deal that would give it a 75% stake in three concession areas.
The oil majors are hardly shaken by recent events in the North African Sahel, including the spectacular hostage crisis last week at a BP-operated gas field in the remote Algerian Sahara.
Morocco will not be immune to the Sahel’s growing instability, but the Chevron deal—if it goes through—is an offshore deal, which presents less of a security threat to personnel and operations. (Related Article: Why This is All Libya's Fault)
Chevron has signed agreements with Morocco’s Offices National Des Hydrocarbures Et Des Mines that give the US company rights to explore for oil in three offshore sites covering some 11,300 square miles. Chevron would gain a 75% stake in the areas, while the remainder would go to the Moroccan government.
Chevron is working hard to expand its frontiers amid recent earnings declines. In November, Chevron’s third-quarter earnings dropped 33%. Still, stock has risen 7.3% over the past 12 months.
Things are now looking pretty good for Chevron, especially on the heels of two more natural gas finds in Australia and an ever-expanding frontier footprint. (Related Article: China's Friendship with Africa - Just a Ploy to get its Natural Resources?)
By market value Chevron is the second largest oil company in the US and offers the best dividends of the four largest integrated oil companies, including Exxon Mobil Corp (NYSE:XOM), Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS.A) and British Petroleum (NYSE:BP).
Chevron is particularly benefitting from quickly expanding LNG production in Australia, which seems to be offsetting the increasing operating costs.