State-owned Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC)has issued an invitation to bid (ITB) to international oil companies for three exploration and production blocks in the Western Desert, close to the Qattara depression. The ITB comes shortly after bids were submitted in late September for the first EGPC round of 2004, which covers 15 concessions located in the Nile Delta region, the Western Desert and the Gulf of Suez (MEED 10:9:04).
The three adjoining blocks are located in the Abu Gharadig basin, one of the most active exploration areas in western Egypt, and include the 1,075-square-kilometre Alam el-Shawish west concession, the 974-square-kilometre Alam el-Shawish East block and Abu Sennan, which covers a total area of 1,589 square kilometres. Under the terms of local production sharing agreements, companies have the option to take up a 20-year development lease after the first discovery of hydrocarbons, with an option to extend for additional five-year periods. Bids are also due by 1 December for the exploration and production rights to nine new blocks being tendered by Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS), in its second bid round of the year. The acreage on offer includes two large onshore blocks in the northern Sinai, while the remaining offshore blocks are all located in the Mediterranean (MEED 30:7:04).
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