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Oil giants line up to enter Egypt

A number of oil majors are getting ready to explore the waters offshore of Egypt following a recent licensing round.

In a press release, ExxonMobil announced it had been awarded 1.7 million acres in total, with 543,000 acres being in the Nile Delta’s offshore block of North East El Amriya and 1.2 million acres being in the Herodotus basin. ExxonMobil Senior Vice President Mike Cousins, said:

“These awards strengthen our exploration portfolio in the Eastern Mediterranean. We look forward to working with the government and deploying our proven expertise and advanced technology.

ExxonMobil has had a downstream presence in the country for more than a century, suppling fuel and lubricants like passenger car engine oil, but the development marks its first upstream involvement in Egypt.

ExxonMobil has taken on the largest work commitment, but other big players also won awards. Shell and Petronas jointly won two blocks in the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding round, with a further two blocks distributed between Eni, DEA, and BP, the company behind the Castrol brand.

Chevron, which like ExxonMobil descends from J. D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company, has also won an area in the Red Sea as part of the GANOPE biding round, while UAE-based Mubadala and Shell won other blocks.

Tarek El Molla, Egypt’s petroleum minister, said at a conference at the end of 2019 that the energy sector would be a critical element in realising the Egyptian government’s vision for 2030, with the country already producing 7.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day.

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