In a 26 December announcement state firm Ganope sought bids from companies “to explore/exploit crude oil and gas under production sharing agreements.” Bidding closes on 30 May.

Eleven of the 20 blocks on offer are large in size (around 10,000sq km each) virgin acreage in the Western Desert with two further similar-sized blocks in the Red Sea (offshore Upper Egypt). The other seven blocks are, in contrast, tiny – between 34 and 97sq km – and in the heavily-explored Gulf of Suez (5 blocks) and nearby onshore Eastern Desert (2 blocks). (CONTINUED - 633 WORDS)