On 6 December, Israel’s NewMed Energy announced the signing of an agreement with Adarco Energy and Morocco’s National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines to license offshore natural gas exploration and production in the North African kingdom, according to Middle East Monitor.
Under the terms of the agreements, NewMed and Adarco will each hold a 37.5% interest in the Boujdour Atlantique exploration license, located off Morocco’s coast in the Atlantic Ocean. According to Morocco World News, Morocco’s National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines will hold the remaining 25%.
“We have long identified enormous potential in Morocco, and today’s announcement is part of a broad strategic move that will make NewMed Energy the leading energy agency in the Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa region,” Yossi Abu, CEO of NewMed, said in a statement.
The agreements still need to be approved by Morocco’s Ministry of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development and the Ministry of Finance.
Morocco normalized ties with Israel in December 2020 after the UAE and Bahrain signed the Abraham Accords in August 2020, which opened diplomatic relations between Israel and several Arab countries.
However, Moroccan political parties and activists have rejected normalizing relations with Israel and held numerous protests against the move.
On 29 November, thousands of people took to the streets of various cities and towns across Morocco to protest against the deepening ties between Rabat and Tel Aviv.
The protests, organized by a coalition of activists under the banner of the “The Moroccan Front to Support Palestine and against Normalization,” drew large crowds in the cities of Oujda, Berkane, Ben Slimane, Beni-Mellal and Oulad Teima. Heavily armed police officers violently repressed similar protests in the capital Rabat.
The protesters, who chanted anti-Israeli slogans, condemned their government’s increased collaboration with Tel Aviv. They say it is unacceptable for any Arab country to normalize relations with Israel while occupying Palestinian lands.
Anger has been simmering in Morocco since August 2020 when the country’s leaders joined other Arab nations led by the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to normalize ties with Israel under the so-called Abraham Accords.