Skip to content Skip to Search
Skip navigation

Egypt opens bidding for new oil and gas exploration

Egypt minister Tarek El-Molla announced oil and gas exploration bids Reuters
Tarek El Molla, Egypt's minister of petroleum and mineral resources, said his ministry will invest up to $9bn this financial year
  • 23 blocks open for exploration
  • Oil ministry investing $9bn this year
  • BP, Eni and Chevron have projects in the country

The Oil Ministry of Egypt on Monday launched an international bidding round for exploration in 23 blocks by oil and gas companies. 

Of the blocks on offer, 10 are in the Western Desert, seven in the Gulf of Suez, four in the Red Sea, and two in the Eastern Desert.

The tenders are part of the oil ministry’s effort to attract oil and gas investment following an increase in domestic energy consumption and a decline in output.

Speaking to reporters on Saturday, oil minister Tarek el-Molla said that the ministry had increased its investment forecast for the current financial year to $8.5-$9bn. This would be a 60% increase on the $5.7bn attracted in the 2022/23 financial year. 

The latest bidding round for exploration is the biggest since 2021.

However, “it looks a little bit scattergun,” said Middle East and North Africa economics analyst at Chatham House, David Butter. “It’s not clear to what extent investors will be attracted to these fringe areas.”

Speculation around untapped hydrocarbon resources in Egypt has fuelled excitement among investors following the discovery of the Zohr gas field — the largest in the Mediterranean — in 2015. But the absence of subsequent big discoveries has hindered Egypt’s ability to maintain gas production and its ambition to become a regional gas hub.

“They do badly need a major natural gas discovery or two or three to keep the natural gas sector healthy,” said Butter.

After hitting an all-time high of 7.06 billion cubic feet per day (cfd) in September 2021, natural gas production fell to 5.73 billion cfd in July amid water-infiltration issues at the Zohr field.

In the same month, gas consumption grew to its highest level, hitting 6.8 billion cfd for the first time. The shortfall led to power cuts across Egypt and imports of gas from Israel topping 800 million cfd a month between November and July.

Separately, the ministry announced that it was awarding four blocks from a previous round of exploration bids in the Mediterranean and Nile Delta to Eni, BP, QatarEnergy and Zarubzhneft. 

Earlier this month, Eni, BP and Chevron announced they would be investing $7.7bn, $3.5bn, and $3bn respectively in production and exploration over the next two to four years.

Latest articles

The WakeCap system being used on a construction site

Aramco adopts heat-sensing construction helmets

Saudi Aramco is deploying advanced safety helmets equipped with heat stress sensors to protect workers on some of its construction sites, a critical concern in the Gulf region’s scorching climate. The helmets, developed by Dubai and Saudi Arabia-based construction tech startup WakeCap, utilise internet-of-things (IoT) technology that monitors worker attendance, location, and safety incidents in […]

Wind turbines above the village of Kotronas in the Peloponnese region. Greece's Terna Energy invests in wind, solar, hydroelectric and pumped storage projects

Masdar buys Greece’s biggest investor in renewables

The UAE’s state-owned clean energy company Masdar is to acquire a majority share in Terna Energy of Greece. The initial deal – one of the largest in the European renewables market and the biggest ever energy transaction on the Athens Stock Exchange – is for a 67 percent stake. The price of €20 ($21.45) per […]

KBR Iraq

US firm wins $46m contract to boost Iraq infrastructure 

US engineering giant KBR has won a five-year $46 million contract to support Iraq’s infrastructure development and future energy projects, including mega-projects. The company is expanding its presence in Iraq, establishing a new office in Baghdad and said it is also considering the creation of a design centre to enhance local engineering skills. Under the […]

The UAE attracted FDI inflows of $30.7 billion last year, a 35 percent year-on-year growth

UAE ranks second in global greenfield FDI projects

A 33 percent year-on-year surge in greenfield FDI projects in the UAE catapulted the Emirates up two places to the second spot after the US in 2023. There are now 1,323 greenfield FDI project announcements, state-run Wam news agency reported, citing the World Investment Report 2024. The UAE attracted FDI inflows of $30.7 billion last […]