The number of blocks offered in the forthcoming EPSA-4 licensing round is expected to be increased to as many as 15 from the previously announced figure of eight. The addition of up to seven concessions is the result of the amount of interest in EPSA-4, with many companies keen to take advantage of Tripoli's first licensing round since the easing of US sanctions earlier in the year. The majority of the extra blocks are believed to be located in the same basins as the original eight, with some new acreage in the Kufra depression. The date for EPSA-4's official launch has still to be confirmed.
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).