Egypt to sell oil, gas exploration licences in south


Egypt said on Sunday it would sell oil and gas exploration and production rights in twelve areas around the country's south.


State-owned Ganoub el-Wadi Petroleum Company (Ganope) said on its website that companies could purchase information about the blocks, located in the Red Sea, Gulf of Suez, and the country's eastern and western deserts, starting April 1.


Bids should be submitted by mid-July, Mohamed Ezat Sakr, Ganope's vice chairman for exploration and production, told Reuters.


Prices for any gas discovered would be agreed between Ganope and the contractor after the discovery of the gas and based on market prices, Sakr said.


"Our gas or oil prices are directly linked to the spot market price," Sakr said.


Egypt could sell further concessions in the north in two rounds this year, London-based MEED magazine reported this month.


Egyptian Oil Minister Sameh Fahmy has said the country plans to increase its oil output by 100,000 bpd to 800,000 bpd in 2008 by developing recent discoveries in the Gulf of Suez and the western desert. Production has declined from peak levels of close to one million bpd in the mid-1990s.


Egypt has become a significant exporter of natural gas, both by pipeline through Jordan and in liquefied form by ship.  (Reuters)