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The Energy & Mines Ministry and state energy company Sonatrachannounced on 28 July the award of eight of the 10 oil and gas permits offered as part of the country’s fifth international licensing round. The five-year appraisal and exploration licences, awarded the day after bids were submitted by 15 companies, call on international oil companies (IOCs) to invest over $130 million. The contracts for the permits will be signed by mid-August (MEED 23:4:04; 26:3:04).