Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons, H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, announced the seven winners of the EG Ronda 2016 Licensing Round at the Africa Oil & Power conference,  one year after its launching,  Petroleum Africa reported.

Twenty three companies showed interest in the licensing round ,since the EG Ronda opened, from which 12 companies submitted official bids for the acreage on offer. Of those, seven companies have advanced to negotiations, which are expected to begin June 19, Energy-pedia News reported.

‘Some of the companies are majors, some are minors, but the important thing is that they are companies dedicated and willing to do exploration and that is the thing that needs to be done,’ H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima explained at the conference.

Ophir Energy was the winning bidder for Block EG-24, Offshore Equator plc gained access to Block EG-23, Clontarf Energy was awarded Block EG-18, Elenilto won EG-09, Taleveras was awarded EG-07, and Atlas Petroleum and Strategic Fuel Fund gained access to EG-10.

The closing of the licensing round had been extended to April 28, due to heightened interest from investors. Production sharing contracts should be signed by September 15 and ratified before the end of the year. The Licensing round included 17 blocks, both offshore and onshore, and included unexplored acreage.