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USTDA awards grant for GIS Project in Morocco

The implementation of a national GIS based information management system to improve Morocco’s exploration and production of oil, natural gas, hydrocarbon, and other minerals is the goal of a U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) grant that was awarded this week to the Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines (ONHYM) of Morocco. Enrique Ortiz, Senior Commercial Officer at the U.S Embassy in Rabat and Director General Amina Benkhadra signed an agreement on behalf of the U.S. government and ONHYM, respectively, to officially confer the grant award. The $115,000 grant will be used to fund the cost of a technical assistance program to support the implementation of a project developed in a previous USTDA-funded feasibility study.

In 2002, USTDA provided a $399,880 grant to fund a study on a GIS and related information technology (IT). Computational Geosciences, Inc. of Norman, Oklahoma completed the study in 2003. ONHYM is now planning to proceed with the procurement of equipment based on the Study’s favorable findings. ONHYM has initiated work on various recommendations in the study, including data collection, and hardware and software acquisitions and upgrades. ONHYM requested USTDA support in implementing the study’s recommendations for a modern GIS-based IT project for petroleum and natural gas exploration and production in Morocco. The USTDA grant awarded now will fund technical assistance to ONHYM on the procurement process for the project, and will include training for operation and maintenance to ensure the system is properly implemented.