Egypt recently awarded eight oil and gas exploration contracts for prospecting projects off the North Coast of the Mediterranean Sea.  Companies including BP, Petroceltic International, Sea Dragon, Pura Vida Energy and Dana Gas are paying a total of $73.2 million to secure the license deals, which require a minimum investment of $1.2 billion.

According to Reuters, The Ministry of Petroleum declared that it received 13 offers from domestic and international companies. Reuters reported that a total of 15 blocks were offered in the bid round announced last June supervised by the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS). Of the 15 total blocks, 6 blocks are located near the maritime borders with Israel and Cyprus near the Levant basin.

The original deadline for offers was postponed by EGAS from November 13 last year to February 13 due to initial weak bidding interest. Chairman of EGAS Sherif Soussa told Bloomberg Business News that according to new conditions of the tender, foreign partners will have the option of selling their share of the produced gas to third parties.  Previous regulations dictated that companies were required to sell their whole share to Egypt.

The Minister of Petroleum Osama Kamal said that issuing international tenders is part of the ministry’s strategy to intensify the search for oil and gas, to secure new sources of energy supply and to encourage international companies to invest more in research and exploration activities.

EGAS Chairman Sherif Soussa stated the results of the tender included the acceptance of the offer from Petroceltic International / Edison for block (1) S. Idku onshore.   The offer from Sea Dragon for the block (2) S. Disouq onshore as also accepted, as well as the offer from Dana gas for block (6) N. El Arish offshore.  The offer from Addison / Petroceltic International for block (7) N. Thekah offshore was also approved. Offers from BP for blocks (10) N. Tennin offshore and (13) N. El Max offshore were also accepted. Pura Vida Energy, operating in Egypt for the first time, received acceptance for the block (15) North Burg El Arab offshore.