A total of 14 blocks, covering 88,980 square kilometres, were offered when the licensing round was launched in January. However, no bids were received for six – blocks 5, 9, 15, 16, 19 and 21 – by the 31 May deadline for the submission of technical and financial proposals.

Bidders were asked to propose terms and conditions for production sharing agreements for any crude oil and gas discoveries in the blocks. They are being offered a 40 per cent rate of cost recovery on the 20-year licences, which also contain five-year extension options. Damascus will receive a royalty of 12.5 per cent of revenues from the block (MEED 30:1:04).

Negotiations are ongoing between the ministry and a group led by Petro-Canadafor the 20-year production sharing contract to develop the middle area non-associated gas reserves in the Palmyra region (MEED 9:4:04).