LONDON, December 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Canamens is pleased to announce the signing of a suite of agreements - including an Association Contract, a Petroleum Agreement and a Reconnaissance Contract, along with associated permits and a licence - to explore for oil in Morocco.

These agreements were signed in Rabat on 15th December 2008 between Canamens and Morocco's Office National Hydrocarbures et des Mines (ONHYM).

The first agreement is a Reconnaissance Contract in respect of the Essaouira Shallow Offshore area, located in shallow water (500 metres). Canamens will reprocess and acquire new 2D seismic and following evaluation prospectivity, decide whether to convert the license to an exploration permit, or elect not to proceed.

The second and third agreements are an Association Contract and Petroleum Agreement which govern 4 Exploration Permits for a similar location but in deeper water (generally over 500 metres), the Essaouira Deep Offshore area. Under these agreements Canamens will reprocess and acquire new 2D seismic and, following evaluation, have the option to extend into a second period with an accompanying 3D seismic and drilling commitment, or drop without further obligation.

Under these agreements, which cover an area of over 11,000km2, Canamens will be the operator with a 75% equity stake in both the Reconnaissance Licence and the Exploration Permits, with the remaining equity held by ONHYM. Canamens will bear 100% of the costs up until the development stage.

The agreements represent Canamens' first investment in Morocco.

Following the signing of the agreements by Madame Amina Benkhadra, Morocco's Minister of Energy and Director General of ONHYM, and Canamens Vice President of Exploration,

John Pickard said:

We are delighted to be taking this first step into Morocco. North Africa is a strategic focus area for Canamens and we believe that Morocco offers exciting prospects for Canamens, and that the country's relatively unexploited offshore province offers significant hydrocarbon prospects. Canamens believes that it has skills and experience which are highly relevant to these prospects and is optimistic that it will be able to build on this first step to develop a material presence in the Moroccan oil industry.

Madame Amina Benkhadra said:

We are pleased to be undertaking this opportunity with Canamens, a company which has exploration experience across the world. Essaouria is an area known for its potential. We hope that with joint efforts - the expertise of Canamens and the knowledge of ONHYM's geologists, the area can be explored and good opportunities and discoveries will occur. We are pleased to welcome Canamens to Morocco, and hope we will have every success in our new exploration.

Notes to Editors

Canamens is a private equity funded upstream oil and gas company. Its aim is to acquire assets with existing or near-term production opportunities, with field development and exploration potential where it can add real value through its industry experience and through its relationship with leading industry service providers. Sector Asset Management and Goldman Sachs are its two principal investors.

The National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mining (Office National Hydrocarbures et des Mines - ONHYM) is a public organization representing the interests of the Kingdom of Morocco in the field of Exploration and Production of Hydrocarbons and Mining resources.

ONHYM's mission is to explore and exploit Hydrocarbons and the Mineral resources (except phosphates) and enter into partnership/joint venture with national and international players in the Oil Gas industry to explore its resources. ONHYM is the organization of reference in the field of Hydrocarbon and Mining research working for the evaluation and the promotion of sedimentary basins of Morocco within a legal, advantageous and safer tax framework.

For further information please contact: Canamens Energy Limited +44(0)207-845-7555 Greg Coleman, Chief Executive Tony Carruthers, Commercial Director Cynthia Dubin, Finance Director Bell Pottinger +44(0)207-861-8562 Roger Cartwright

For further information please contact: Canamens Energy Limited +44(0)207-845-7555, Greg Coleman, Chief Executive, Tony Carruthers, Commercial Director, Cynthia Dubin, Finance Director; Bell Pottinger +44(0)207-861-8562, Roger Cartwright