The Egyptian government has awarded eight oil and gas exploration blocks in the country to Eni, BP, Apex International, Energean Egypt, United Energy, Sipetrol, and INA.

The blocks are part of the first international digital bid round held by the Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources.

According to the Ministry, the eight blocks are spread over a total area of nearly 12,300km2.

Two of the blocks are in the Mediterranean, two are in the Gulf of Suez, while the remaining four are located in the Western Desert. The winning bidders of the blocks are expected to drill a minimum of 33 wells.

In the Western Desert, the awarded blocks include EGY-WD-7, EGY-WD-9, EGY-WD-11, and EGY-WD-7.

The other four blocks, which have been awarded, include the EGY-MED-E5 and the EGY-MED-E6 in the Mediterranean Sea, and the EGY-GOS-13 and the EGY-GOS-14 concessions in the Gulf of Suez.

The blocks are likely to see a minimum investment cost of around $250m during their exploration stage. This is in addition to the signature bonus of $23.7m.

The announcement of the results by the Petroleum and Mineral Resources Minister Tarek El-Molla follows Egypt’s maiden global oil and gas exploration auction that was conducted by the government-owned Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company.

A total of 24 blocks were put up for auction via a new digital portal called Egypt Upstream Gateway.

El-Molla suggested that taking into account the prevailing global conditions pertaining to the Covid-19 pandemic, the bid round has yielded positive results that will lead to attracting more investments during the coming period.

The Minister said that the Egypt Upstream Gateway portal has contributed to enabling international firms to get access to all geological and geophysical data for all the blocks put up for auction.

The blocks were represented by nearly 42 3D seismic surveys, close to 2,894 2D seismic surveys, and approximately 118 wells.