Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) has launched the first oil and gas bid round since popular unrest forced long-time President Hosni Mubarak from power.

The state-owned EGPC is auctioning production sharing agreements for a total of 15 oil and gas exploration blocks in the Gulf of Suez, the Eastern and the Western Desert and Sinai basins.

The combined acreage of the blocks, three of which are offshore, is 18,000 square kilometres, and the maximum total exploration time for each block is seven years.

Companies have to submit their bids by 30 January 2012.