February 11, 2017
Future upstream licensing in Egypt’s Nile Delta offshore province may be facing a hiatus, but the most recent round to have been completed by state-owned Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation signalled healthy interest by players in other acreages.
Smaller, cash-strapped players were not much in evidence during the 2016 round, covering acreage in the Gulf of Suez and Western Desert, but US player Apache, a stalwart in the latter play, Anglo-Dutch supermajor Shell and its UK counterpart BP all took on acreage.
Apache won the North-West Razzak and South Alam El Shawish blocks in the Western Desert, where it is the dominant oil producer, while in the same region Shell picked up North Umbaraka.
BP took on North-East Ramadan in the mature Gulf of Suez, where it has long been dominant.
One newcomer in the round was US private equity-backed Apex International Energy, which won South-East Meleiha and West Badr El Din in the Western Desert.
Egyptian state gas operator EGAS, on the other hand, missed a bid round last year.
Its most recent tender in 2015, carried out before the Zohr discovery, was regarded as disappointing by some as it saw only four out of the 12 blocks on offer taken up.
However, any disappointment was tempered by the fact that the acreage awarded was taken on by major European companies, including a significant newcomer.
France’s Total made its debut in Egypt by earning a share in the North El Hammad block in partnership with BP and Eni, while the latter two also took on North Ras El Esh and BP went solo at North El Tabya.
The final block, Northeast Hapy, was secured by Edison of Italy.