Just eight months ago Shell’s then Egypt chief Gasser Hanter announced with great fanfare that the company was “back” in Egypt – looking to ramp up activity in a country where its output had long been on the wane.

The company had long stalled on new investment in protest at payment delays from state firm EGPC. But a sea change came when the results of Egypt’s two 2018 bid rounds were announced this February. This saw the Anglo-Dutch major bag not only two large deepwater offshore blocks just north of its existing acreage – the same acreage where it had stalled on investing – but also three key oil-prone Western Desert blocks (see map and MEES, 15 February). (CONTINUED - 1712 WORDS)