The round was launched by the Ministry of Energy & Mines and Agence Nationale pour la Valorisation des Ressources en Hydrocarbures (Alnaft) on 13 July.

A total of 45 onshore blocs are on offer to international oil companies and investors, primarily located in eastern and central parts of the country.

The blocs cover an area of more than 140,000 square kilometers. Half of the acreage on offer is located in the oil-rich Berkine and Illizi basins.

Under the tendering schedule Alnaft will give a general presentation to prequalified companies on 23 July. The data room will be opened from 2 August, followed by clarification meetings in September and October.

Bids for each bloc will be submitted on the morning of 3 December, with the offers opened two hours later. The contracts will be signed on 17 December.

Successful companies will be able explore for oil and gas within their respective blocs and have the option to develop commercial discoveries with state energy company Sonatrach.

The licensing round is the first to be held under the Hydrocarbons Law, which gave much more control to Sonatrach. It remains to be seen if interest among international oil companies remains as high as previous licensing rounds as a result.