Egyptian Activity Buoyant With a 2022 Exploration Bid Round
The Egyptian Oil Ministry began 2022 by concluding its 2021 licensing round which offered three blocks in the Gulf of Suez, twelve in the Western Desert and nine in the Mediterranean Sea. This was the first round to use Schlumberger’s Egypt Upstream Gateway, intended to provide a modern repository for Egypt’s subsurface data.
Seven international energy companies including BP and Eni were awarded eight of the 24 oil and gas exploration blocks which were included in this round, which ran from mid-February until the end of July last year. The status of the other 16 concessions put up for auction has not been announced, and the assumption is that that these will not be awarded at this time. The Limited Bid-Round for a unique block, the North King Mariut Offshore, in the western part of the Nile Delta Basin had its deadline extended until the end of February 2022 on the request of potential bidders.
This latest round follows on from the first international Red Sea Offshore Bid Round which announced its results at the end of 2019. In this offer, Chevron won Block 1, while the Dutch Shell Company was awarded Block 3, and an alliance of Shell and Mubadala Emirates Company acquired Block 4. In total an exploration area of about 10,000 square kilometres was leased.
Recently, Egypt has seen significant activity. At the end of 2021, the Oil Ministry signed a US$3.5 billion agreement with Apache and Sinopec, and Italian energy firm Eni committed to invest a minimum US$1 billion on oil production in the country. Canadian firm TransGlobe and London-based Pharos Energy this year signed exploration and production agreements worth US$506 million. The ministry wants to attract US$7 billion of foreign direct investment into the oil and gas sector next fiscal year, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla, said earlier this week.
New oil and gas exploration rights will be up for grabs in in the first half of 2022. The government plans to launch a new global tender for oil and gas exploration before June, Bloomberg reported Tarek El Molla as saying during a press conference at the end of January. No further details were disclosed on the upcoming tender.