Israel is preparing to tender 24 offshore exploration blocks to be offered in an international bidding process by which energy companies will compete for rights to participate in exploration for oil and natural gas in Israel’s economic waters, The National Law Review reported. The blocks are up to 400 sq km in size and in waters up to 1,800m deep, while some are adjacent to the recently discovered Leviathan and Tamar fields.

Around 2,100bcm of natural gas is waiting to be found in Israeli waters, more than double the amount already discovered, in addition to potential 6.6b barrels of oil, according to Reuters. The Israeli Energy Minister, Yuval Steinitz, based the estimate on a third-party geological study.

“Things are now moving forward at an amazing pace,” the minister said, adding that while the government has yet to determine the type of tender, the blocks should be available by November.

Israel entered the world of hydrocarbon exploration seven years ago when some of the largest offshore gas fields in the Mediterranean Sea were found off its coast.