Opec member Algeria, unveiling details of its seventh exploration and production licensing round, invited prequalified companies on Sunday to bid for acreage with what it called high potential for petroleum resources.
An official statement on the Energy and Mines Ministry website said the deadline for bids for 16 zones containing 45 blocks was 0900 GMT on December 3, 2008, and the winners would be announced two hours later at 1100 GMT.
Companies may bid to become an operator and/or an investor, the statement said. The round, the first since April 2005, has been keenly awaited by multinational companies seeking permits to explore in Algeria, which is among the world’s top owners of oil and gas reserves and a major gas exporter to Europe.
“The selected zones are in different Algerian sedimentary petroleum basins offering a high potential in petroleum resources,” said the statement by the ministry’s National Agency for the Valorisation of Hydrocarbon Resources (ALNAFT).
The round is the first to be offered under a 2006 law that gives state energy conglomerate Sonatrach a mandatory minimum 51 per cent share in every oil and gas exploration contract awarded to foreign companies.
British Petroleum, Amerada Hess, Statoil, Anadarko Petroleum, Repsol and Total are the main foreign companies involved in exploration and production of hydrocarbons in Algeria.
The statement said prequalified companies would receive a general technical presentation on July 23, and data rooms of detailed information on each project would be open in two sessions from August 2 to 13 and September 1 to October 15, 2008.

(Reuters & Gulf News)