National Oil Corporationofficials are keen to grant the concessions to a broad spread of companies in order to make best use of technology only recently made available as a result of the easing of the embargo. Oil companies on the ground say that they have been given no official notification from NOC as to when the bidding round will start, although some were invited to submit applications for prequalification to NOC on 15 July (MEED 4:6:04).

Negotiations between NOC and Petro-Canada, and a consortium led by Austria’s OMVand comprising Spain’s Repsol and Germany’s Wintershall, are ongoing for a number of concessions under the previous EPSA-3. It is still unclear whether NOC plans to award the remaining EPSA-3 blocks before or after EPSA-4 has been launched (MEED 14:5:04; 30:4:04).