The four blocks, all of which are 1,250-1,450 square kilometres in size, to be awarded are: the West Burullus concession, to Gaz de France; the El-Burg concession, to BG Egypt; and the North el-Burg and Burullus concessions, which were awarded to BPof the UK. BP operates the nearby West Mediterranean Deep Water Concession, where on 26 July it announced a new discovery. The Polaris 1 exploratory well tested at a rate of 26.5 million cubic feet a day of natural gas.

Parliamentary approval has also been received for two earlier awards made under the November 2003 bid round. The US’ Merlon Petroleum Companyhas been awarded an exploration contract for a 4,500-square-kilometre block in the Fayoum area, southwest of Cairo, while HBSof Tunisia has been awarded the contract to explore a 4,190-square-kilometre area near Ghazalat in the Western Desert.