The launch of two new Egyptian bid rounds, with a total of 22 blocks on offer, has been welcomed by international oil companies, who see the recent flurry of activity as a sign that Cairo is serious about solving the problems in the country’s energy sector despite ongoing political turmoil (see p16).

State-owned Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) invited bids for 15 oil-prone blocks on 30 December. Simultaneously, the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) launched bidding for seven blocks of prospective gas acreage – including in frontier deepwater areas. The EGAS blocks were mysteriously withdrawn from the website for several days before reappearing. (CONTINUED - 1278 WORDS)