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Egypt launched on Monday an international bidding round for oil and gas exploration in 23 onshore and offshore blocks, the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources said.
Egypt will be offering in this bidding round 10 blocks in the Western Desert region, two blocks in the Eastern Desert, seven areas in the Gulf of Suez, and four blocks in the Red Sea, according to an announcement by the ministry carried by Reuters.
The deadline for the filing of the bids is February 25, 2024.
Egypt, which has seen some large gas discoveries in recent years and which aims to become a regional energy hub, has been looking to boost its oil and gas production and attract more investments.
Egypt and the eastern Mediterranean have become hot spots for gas exploration after several significant discoveries, including the giant Zohr field in Egypt, which was discovered and is operated by Italy’s Eni.
Over the last eight years, Egypt’s gas production has grown by 66 percent, with export revenues surging 13-fold. Last year, the country’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports topped 8 million tons, the bulk of which was sent to gas-starved Europe.
Egypt now looks to boost oil and gas output via an expansion at the huge Zohr field and new exploration projects.
Egypt also plans to have $1.8 billion invested by majors to drill new offshore gas wells in the Mediterranean Sea and the Nile Delta, Petroleum Minister Tarek El Molla told the Emirates News Agency in July.
The plan – which involves companies including Eni, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell, and BP – aims to drill 35 exploratory gas wells until July 2025, according to the minister.
In addition, Apache Corporation plans to invest next year $1.4 billion in Egypt’s energy industry. The U.S. firm is one of the biggest investors and the largest oil producer in the North African country.
As of the end of 2022, Apache held 5.3 million gross acres in six separate concessions. Some 68% of the company’s gross acreage in Egypt is undeveloped, providing considerable exploration and development opportunities for the future, the U.S. company says.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com