Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Tarek El Molla, announced the postpone of the closing date of the first exploration and production  (E&P) bid round in 2021 to the end of September 2021, a press release cited.

The decision was taken upon request from several international oil companies (IOCs), as the bid round was supposed to be closed on Sunday 1st of August 2021. It was offered in 24 blocks at the Gulf of Suez, Western Desert, and the Mediterranean through the Egypt Upstream Gateway (EUG).

The  postponing announcement was made during El Molla’s speech in a panel session organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt (AmCham Egypt), entitled “Transformation of Oil and gas Sector – Fueling the Egyptian Economy”.

The session was attended by Jonathan Cohen, US. Ambassador to Egypt, Tarek Tawfik, Chairman of the AmCham Egypt, and a number of  national and international oil companies heads, in addition to other  senior officials.

During the panel, the Petroleum Minister showcased the efforts and success stories of Egypt in the oil and gas sector, despite the challenges emerged  since 2011. He also mentioned the positive effects of the Modernization Project that has been adopted by the ministry since 2016.

According to El Molla, the demarcation of borders with neighboring countries opened new prospects for E&P activities especially in the unexplored areas. He added that the sector attracted $6 billion of foreign direct investments (FDI) during 2020, despite the pandemic, and that the sector is going forward towards applying digital technologies in a number of fields, giving the launch of the EUG an example.

Meanwhile, the minister said that the ministry is  currently working on forming unified Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, in order to  facilitate communications between companies. New technologies will be also applied in the brownfields in Gulf of Suez to increase production rates.

Regarding infrastructure, El Molla stated that Egypt expanded construction of pipelines by 90%, and increased warehouse capacities by 45%. Ports’ capacities also increased by 85% while number of fuel stations increased by 20%.

The progress of the natural gas expansion initiative was also elaborated. The ministry converted 42,000 cars to run on natural gas during Fiscal Year (FY) 2019/20, while other 400,000 cars are planned to be added during the upcoming three years.

El Molla also said the E&P agreements signed since 2014 have amounted to 99 agreements with minimum investments of $17 billion.