The Tunisian government accepted a bid from the upstream company Upland Resources for an exclusive hydrocarbon exploration and appraisal licence in onshore northern Tunisia, Pipeline Oil and Gas Magazine reported.

“The company believes there is the potential for very substantial quantities of recoverable gas within the permit area,” Upland stated.

An existing gas discovery made in the area 50 years ago when no local gas market existed also reduces the risk of Upand’s exploration plans.

Existing gas pipelines crossing the permit area currently have spare capacity and provide access to the local gas market.

Upland will act as an operator and hold a majority stake in the concession, however, in the event of a discovery, state oil company ETAP would retain the right as a joint-venture partner to control a minority stake by reimbursing Upland for past costs representative of its share of the permit and by contributing to future costs.

Upland plans to conduct an initial 2D seismic survey, and then drilling wells conditional on the results of the survey.