Egypt’s Ministry of Petroleum last week announced the opening of two new licensing rounds, covering 27 blocks in onshore and offshore areas. The Egyptian General Petroleum Corp. (EGPC) is offering exploration and production concessions for 11 blocks, located in the Gulf of Suez area, the Nile Delta and the Western Desert.
The Egyptian Natural Gas Holding (EGAS) is offering three concessions in the onshore Nile Delta region and 13 in the offshore Mediterranean, including several new blocks in frontier areas west of current offshore operations.
The bid round reflects Egypt’s restored ambitions towards expanding its hydrocarbon industry through new exploration. It has been the discovery of the giant Zohr gas field by Eni in August 2015, reforms in Egypt’s industry and restructured agreements with foreign firms operating in Egypt that has brought about a revival in the country’s energy sector. Gas production is around 170 mcm per day and this is expected to rise steadily over the next year as new production starts up.
The EGPC 2018 bid round includes three blocks in the Gulf of Suez, two in the Nile Delta, one in the Eastern Desert and five in the Western Desert. The deadline for submitting bids is October 1, 2018. The state-owned company said preferred bidders would be offered production-sharing contracts (PSCs) based on the Egyptian model agreement. EGAS set a deadline of October 8 for its round, which is the largest since the company was created in 2001.
Egyptian Minister of Petroleum Tarek El-Molla said the acreage being tendered covers most of the country’s basins.
Separately, Egypt’s Tharwa Petroleum said last week that it was waiting for the approval of its exploration and production agreement with EGAS to start drilling in the Noor concession. Tharwa is partnered with Italy’s Eni and EGAS in the concession.
Meanwhile, Apex International Energy has signed up for seismic work in its Southeast Meleiha concession and BGP International Egypt is to acquire 1,000 square km of 3D seismic for US$15 million. Work on both will start in the fourth quarter of this year.
The company has already started reprocessing 3D seismic from West Badr el Din concession won in December last year. Apex won both concessions in EGPC’s 2016 licensing round. The company agreed to invest US$27.4 million during first phase exploration during which geological studies, 3D seismic and six exploratory wells are to be drilled.