Egypt postponing oil, gas rights bids until August

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A gas sweetening and dehydration unit in Saqqara, Egypt. Photo – Prosernat.com

Egyptian General Petroleum Corp. said it is postponing the announcement of results from a bidding round for oil and natural-gas rights until August.

Deputy Chief Executive Officer for Agreements Adel Kamel told Bloomberg in an interview that the one-month delay will give the state-owned company more time to evaluate the offers, especially because some bidders are new to Egypt. He added that EGPC is assessing 25 offers after it invited bids in September last year, the first such auction since July 2009.

According to data released by Bloomberg, Egypt holds Africa’s sixth-largest oil reserves, at 4.3 billion barrels. It also holds the continent’s third-biggest gas deposits, at 77 trillion cubic feet. The North African nation is facing a tough time as foreign direct investment is at its lowest since an uprising last year ousted former President Hosni Mubarak.

Cairo terminated its contract to ship gas to Israel because of contractual violations committed by Tel Aviv in April this year.

Under the 2005 deal, the Cairo-based East Mediterranean Gas Co. sells 1.7 billion cubic meters of natural gas to the Israeli company at a price critics say is set at $1.50 per million British thermal units – a measure of energy.

Opposition groups filed the suit claiming Israel gets the gas on cheap rates under the 15-year fixed price deal between a private Egyptian company, partly owned by the government, and the state-run Israel Electric Corporation.

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