Italian oil and gas company Eni has been awarded three exploration licences in Egypt as part of the 2013 Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) and Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) bidding rounds.

Eni has been awarded a 100 per cent participating interest and operatorship of the onshore block South-West Melehia, according to a statement released by the company on 25 September.

The block is located in Egypt’s Western Desert, near the Melehia Development Lease, in which the company has a participating interest. The new licence covers an area of 2,058 square kilometres.

Eni will also become the operator of Block 9 and Block 8, located offshore in the Mediterranean, near Egypt’s maritime boundary with Cyprus.

Eni will hold 100 per cent equity in Block 9, also named North Leil Offshore, which covers an area of 5,105 sq km in water depths ranging from 2,100-2,800 metres.

In Block 8, also named Karawan Offshore, Eni will partner with BP, with both companies holding a 50 per cent equity interest. This licence covers an area of 4,565 sq km in water depths ranging from 2,000-2,500 metres.

Eni currently produces approximately 220,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day from its Egyptian oil and gas assets.

On 19 September, Egypt awarded seven other oil and gas exploration blocks in deals worth a total of $187m, which should see 29 new wells drilled in the country.

Five of the blocks are located in Egypt’s Western Desert and were awarded to Tunisian oil company HBS, Canada-based TransGlobe and Italy’s Edison.

German oil and gas company RWE won two offshore exploration blocks in the Gulf of Suez.