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Companies are waiting for the release of tender documents by Saudi Aramco for the contract to carry out an airborne gravity seismic survey aimed at identifying probable hydrocarbons deposits over the Red Sea and parts of the western region. The companies interested in the project responded in December to an initial Aramco inquiry. Once completed by year-end and pending budget approval, the airborne survey will be followed by a tender for contracts to carry out 2D and 3D seismic studies, and exploratory drilling in the specified areas next year, says a Dhahran-based industry executive. The first stage will cover a land survey, to be followed by the shooting of data offshore. Aramco is understood to be aiming to complete the surveys around 2008/09. The next stage calls for exploratory drilling in prospective areas.