According to an official source from the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC), the company will invite the first tender for tight oil exploration in the country early in 2014. Apparently a technical committee has been formed with members from the EGPC, Ganoub El Wadi Petroleum Holding Company and the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company to choose locations to be proposed for the tender. Egypt is said to have 114 Bb of tight oil reserves, of which 4.6 Bbo can be extracted.
The government is considering an April 2014 launch of the 10th New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP X) with the minister of petroleum and natural gas indicating some 270,000 km2 will be available. Media sources suggest the offering will probably comprise 23 onshore, 20 shallow water and 25 deepwater blocks. Some consideration is allegedly being given to revising fiscal terms to make the offer more attractive to investors.
Nuri Berruien, chairman of state-owned National Oil Corp., has indicated an intention to hold the next bidding round for exploration rights in mid-2014. The auction would be the North African country’s first since the ousting of Muammar Qaddafi in 2011. The country is reassessing the terms it offers foreign companies to explore for oil as the OPEC member seeks to entice more partners and boost crude output while resolving worker protests that are curbing exports. It is understood that any new acreage offering will have to consider the technology required to develop any hydrocarbons and that the focus will be on underdeveloped acreage.
The first onshore licensing round since 2008 is reportedly to take place before the end of 2013, in which three blocks are planned to be offered initially, with a further six to be included in 2014. This could mark a change as since 2008, foreign companies had to team up with state KazMunaiGaz to enter the country’s upstream. There are currently no plans to offer offshore acreage, considered by the industry to be more prospective.
Malaysia launched its Exploration Opportunity 2014 at the end of October, offering four blocks offshore Peninsular Malaysia, (PM-403, PM-327, PM-337 and PM-331), four in Sarawak, (SK-335, SK-332, frontier deepwater block 2D and SK-317A) and three in Sabah (V, T both ultra-deepwater blocks and SB-306). A data room will be open until March 2014.
ANCAP has indicated Uruguay Round III will be held in 2014 and that it will probably comprise 12 blocks. Spectrum has acquired 4,000 km of 2D spec data over the potential blocks.
The authorities in Gabon have launched a long-awaited licensing round but as negotiations started several months ago, 11 companies have already been awarded 13 blocks. A total of 43 were proposed by companies. It is expected that the national oil company will hold a working interest of around 10–15% and that the state will have a carried interest of 15–20%.
Lúmen Sebastião, Sonangol’s head of resource evaluation, has reiterated plans to launch a licensing round onshore Angola, probably first quarter 2014. The precise date and the blocks to be offered are still being confirmed, but the round will offer acreage in the Kwanza and Congo Basins. The current suggestion is that seven blocks will be offered in the onshore section of the Kwanza Basin, with each covering around 1,000 km2, while three blocks, each covering around 700 km2, are likely to be offered from the recently demarcated Congo Basin.
South Sudan plans to auction licences for a yet-to-be determined number of new petroleum exploration blocks. “We are now working on a concession map, and this will lead us to the initiation of the licensing for the new annexed blocks, and we are hoping that by the end of this year we will have a licensing round,” Mohamed Lino Benjamin, director general of petroleum at the petroleum and mining ministry, told a regional East African oil and gas conference.
OMNIS is expected to launch a bid round in early 2014 following the processing and interpretation of the 13,000 km of 2D seismic acquired off the western coast by BGP in May 2013.