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Morocco and China Reinforce Energy Cooperation

'Morocco-China Silk Road Council' to Boost Sino-Moroccan Relations

Rabat – One year after King Mohammed VI’s visit to China, the tow countries opt to reinforce their energy cooperation.

The Sino-Moroccan energy and hydrocarbon industries partnership was at the heart of a meeting between Aziz Rebbah, Minister of Energy, Mines and Sustainable Development and his Chinese counterpart, Nur Bekri.

An important Chinese delegation led by Bekri met yesterday in Rabat with representatives of the various national institutions involved in the oil and gas fields.

Present at the meeting Minister Aziz Rebbah, hoped to solidify the two countries’ desire to strengthen their partnership in the field of energy during a signing ceremony for the establishment of the cooperation agreements. These were concluded in May 2016 during the royal visit to the Chinese capital.

Important Chinese corporations including the Export-Import Bank of China, Power China Group, China Gezhouba Group, Huawei, Shanghai Electric Group, expressed their wish to invest in Morocco and establish new partnerships with public and private players.

During the meeting, the Chinese delegation spoke of their regard for Morocco as a land rich in energy resources and expressed their appreciation of “Morocco’s efforts in the renewable energy industries and electricity networks aimed at achieving its energy independence.”

According to Bekri, China is deploying all its efforts to accelerate the Sino-Moroccan cooperation in terms of energy production, of which the Kingdom is a primordial part.

“China has an unmatched strength in photovoltaic power grid technologies,” said Bekri. He highlighted China’s participation in the extension plans of the Jerada thermal power plant near Oujda, via a loan from the China Exim Bank, as well as their involvement in the Noor power plant in Ouarzazate via Chinese energy giant, Power China.  

The Chinese Minister of Energy said they are ready to continue sharing their expertise with Morocco and invest in various energy projects.

This cooperation was welcomed by Aziz Rebbah, who recalled that Morocco faces many challenges, notably the increasing national energy consumption (+4 percent each year), dominated by fossil energies.

“The objective is to limit our dependence and to achieve a certain energy efficiency, in particular through renewable energies, at the national level as well as at the level of the municipalities and the cities,” indicated the minister.

Morocco is already undertaking an energy transition, which is, according to Rabbah, focused on investment programs for domestic and international private companies.

“By 2030, our programs will cover an additional capacity of electricity production from renewable sources of about 10,100 MW including 4,560 MW of solar source, 4,200 MW of wind source and 1,330 MW of water source,” said the Minister.

In response to the Chinese delegation’s wishes, Rabbah also affirmed that the 2017-2021 period will include the launch of the national energy efficiency strategy.

“We believe that today we have all the favorable conditions to seize these opportunities. I am convinced that our experts will lead to beneficial cooperation projects and actions.”

Representatives of Moroccan institutions also share the same wishes to accelerate the Sino-Moroccan cooperation. Amina Benkhadra, CEO of the National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines, expressed her desire “to see large Chinese companies interested in under-explored ponds.”

Besides the ONHYM, Morocco has to its credit, other establishments and operators in energy, such as the solar cluster working in renewable energies.

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