Egypt’s state gas company EGAS said in a statement it had awarded one licence to Britain’s BP and one to Italy’s Edison. A consortium involving BP and Eni’s Egyptian subsidiary had also picked up a block as had another consortium involving Eni, BP and France’s Total.
In an official statement, EGAS head Khaled Abdel Badie explained that Block 4, North Ras El Esh was awarded to BP and IEOC. In addition, IEOC, BP, and Total were awarded Block 7, in the North El Hammad area. Italy’s Edison was awarded Block 12, Northeast Hapy, and BP was awarded Block 14, North El Tabya.
The EGAS statement said the new concessions would see the companies making total investments of at least $306 million and a signing bonus of $10.5m to drill eight discovery wells and conduct 3D seismic studies.
Abdel Badie told Reuters after the announcement that Egypt was preparing to launch a new bidding round for offshore gas exploration in the Mediterranean in the first half of 2016.
Eni announced in late August it had discovered the largest known gas field in the Mediterranean off the Egyptian coast.
The Italian major predicts the Zohr field could hold 30 trillion cubic feet of gas, covering an area of about 100 square kilometres (39 square miles). It could be a game-changer for Egypt, whose $3.5 billion debts to foreign energy companies had made it increasingly difficult to attract major investments.
The Zohr find is likely to encourage oil majors to look more carefully at the eastern Mediterranean region, which has yielded some significant discoveries in recent years.