Egypt intends to offer 28 blocks to foreign oil and gas companies in a bid round planned to take place soon, Tarek El Molla, the country’s Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources said at the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) 2016 in Houston, RigZone reported.

“We are going to call a new bid round for 28 blocks … in the coming few weeks,” the minister indicated. He told Rigzone after the session that the blocks are located in the Gulf of Suez, Red Sea, Desert Western, Desert Eastern, and Desert Mediterranean.
Egypt has over the last two and a half years signed 66 agreements for new upstream oil and gas blocks, securing a minimum commitment of $14b.

According to the minister, “Zohr discovery has raised foreign oil companies’ interest and attract investment potential in (Egypt’s) deepwater areas,” adding that it was a feat for the project to achieve first production 28 months after discovery, something that normally takes 6 to 8 years worldwide. In the field, 20 wells will be drilled, and they will be linked to three major pipelines connected to the shore.

Italy’s Eni had signed an agreement with the Egyptian authorities to develop the Zohr field with first gas targeted for late 2017, slightly over two years after the discovery. Gas production from Zohr is expected to progressively ramp up to around 75mscm/d by 2019.
In addition, the development of the Zohr gas project is expected to create several thousand jobs. The minister revealed that “not less than 5,000 jobs during the construction” will be created, Energy Egypt wrote.

Meanwhile to enhance Egypt’s attraction as an investment destination, the government has reduced arrears to foreign oil and gas companies by 52% since 2011/2012. “We are addressing the historical debts, our arrears … we brought them down by half. It used to be $6.3b and it is $3b now,” said the minister.