As a rapidly growing country with only modest energy resources, Morocco’s dependence on external power supplies continued to increase over 2012, with the value of energy imports jumping 11.9% year-on-year from 2011 to 2012. With 96% of energy needs met by fossil fuel imports, especially oil and coal, the country is in a precarious fiscal position as government budgets grapple with elevated oil prices. As one of the most underexplored countries worldwide for oil reserves, authorities are seeking to raise incentives for international firms through a number of schemes, including a 10-year corporate tax break for new discoveries. Greater interest from international energy groups by way of new licences for drilling rights has led to a higher volume of offshore exploration. The search for domestic hydrocarbons resources is being complemented by a focus on developing renewable energies and increasing energy efficiency, which – in addition to creating opportunities for local and foreign investors – looks set to reduce costly imports and ensure that supply keeps pace with demand. In short, Morocco’s diversification of energy sources has created a number of promising prospects for growth.
This chapter includes interviews with Ali Fassi-Fihri, Director-General, National Office of Electricity and Water Supply (ONEE); and Amina Benkhadra, General Director, National Hydrocarbons and Mining Office (ONHYM).