Egypt awards oil and gas exploration concessions to Chevron, Shell and Mubadala

Egypt awarded US oil major Chevron, Anglo-Dutch Shell and Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala rights to explore for oil and gas in the Red Sea, as it expands its search for new hydrocarbon reserves.

The North African state, which launched its first licensing round in the Red Sea earlier this year, awarded one block each to Chevron and Shell and the third jointly to the Anglo-Dutch firm and Mubadala. The concessions cover a total acreage of 10,000 square kilometres, with a minimum investment of $326 million (Dh1.12 billion), according to the country’s petroleum ministry.

Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous state, has been offering exploration rights following the discovery of the massive Zohr field by Italian energy major Eni in 2016. The find sparked a search for more hydrocarbon resources along the Nile Delta and western desert as the country looks to to become a net exporter of gas, particularly to markets in Europe.

Following the award of exploration licences to concessions in the western and eastern desert regions, the Nile Delta and the Gulf of Suez, Egypt announced its intention to launch another round that included blocks in the Red Sea.

The country in February tendered 10 blocks offshore the Red Sea, aiming to replicate the gas bonanza, which helped Egypt drastically reduce its fuel imports.

Earlier this year, Egypt also successfully closed one of its largest bid rounds, awarding 12 licences to companies including US energy major Exxon Mobil.

The North African country will see production from its Zohr resource increase to more than 3 billion cubic feet per day by the end of this year. The country is also ramping up output from the North Alexandria West Nile Delta concessions operated by BP. Production is expected to reach 700 million cubic feet per day as 400 million cubic feet per day of gas comes on stream.