Cairo on 17 November finalized contracts with five operating companies for the seven mostly onshore Western Desert blocks awarded in EGPC’s 2018 bid round.

Shell was the big ‘winner’ of the round, taking three large Western Desert blocks (MEES, 15 February). But in the nine months since the major has performed an about face on its Egypt strategy: Shell’s Western Desert subsidiary Bapetco is now for sale with offshore gas and LNG to be the focus for Shell Egypt going forward (MEES, 25 October). Hotly-tipped buyers for Bapetco include Chevron (MEES, 4 October) and Dubai state firm Dragon Oil, which recently roared into Egypt by snapping up BP’s Gulf of Suez assets (MEES, 25 October). (CONTINUED - 287 WORDS)