Cairo this week announced the award of eight blocks out of 24 offered up in 2021 bidding (MEES, 26 February 2021), with just a third of the blocks in the offshore Mediterranean gas heartland, the oil-focused Western Desert and the Gulf of Suez attracting bidders.

Cairo will be particularly disappointed that none of the three deepwater virgin West Mediterranean blocks attracted takers. An initial offering of West Med blocks the previous year saw majors Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell, TotalEnergies and BP all snap up acreage, though no drilling has yet taken place (MEES, 3 December 2021). (CONTINUED - 1473 WORDS)