The blocks on offer include nine in the Gulf of Suez, where most of Egypt’s oil is produced, and nine blocks in the Mediterranean, which has become a major source of gas.

Industry analysts say the delay will allow time for the reorganisation of EGPC into three dedicated entities to be completed. EGPC will henceforth concentrate on oil issues, leaving everything connected to gas to be handled by the newly formed Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (MEED 17:8:01). The composition of the board of a new holding company for petrochemicals is scheduled to be announced in the next few weeks.