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Egypt last week launched the first of three bid rounds slated for 2016 as output continues to slide. Following Eni’s giant Zohr discovery last year potential investors will likely to be more excited by the promise of key virgin deepwater acreage, to be offered later this year, than the well-drilled blocks currently on offer. With receivables again creeping up in Q1, improved payments would go a long way to boosting investor confidence.
Egyptian state-oil firm EGPC launched a new bid round on 12 May for eleven blocks in the Gulf of Suez and Western Desert (see table and map). Oil Minister Tariq al-Mulla says the bid round is part of Cairo’s strategy to “secure energy supplies” by “increasing production through intensive exploration.” One factor which is discouraging foreign investment in the industry is Cairo’s growing receivables bill, which rose to $3.2bn at end-March from $3bn three months earlier according to EGPC figures (MEES, April 15).
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