2018 brings a large number of bid rounds across the globe, notably across the Americas, West Africa and Asia. However, slow progress of legislation or regulations remains an obstacle to new investment in many areas, with measures often having been delayed for a considerable period.

North America

Mexico held its second deepwater exploration round (round 2.4) on 31 January. Shallow water, onshore and possibly unconventional rounds will follow later in the year. Amendments to the US tax code improve the investment climate while the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador has also enacted a new simplified royalty regime which will apply to all new offshore developments.

South America & Caribbean

Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago are some of the countries planning to hold bid rounds or attract investments in 2018.


Regular licensing rounds continue in the UK and Norway. Outside the North Sea, the Faroe Islands and Greece both have bid rounds set to close in March.

Map of bid rounds, fiscal regime changes and pending legislation in 2018

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Middle East

A key event will be the expiry of Abu Dhabi’s offshore ADMA concession in March. Bids were reportedly received for a new concession in fourth quarter of 2017. March will also see the opening of a new onshore and offshore bid round in another emirate, Ras Al Khaimah. Iran’s efforts to attract investment through its upstream sector through the Iran Petroleum Contract continue, while Iraq has adopted a relatively flexible approach for its bid round closing in May. Israel is also planning a second offshore round to follow its round held in 2017.


Egypt, Algeria, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Cameroon, Nigeria and Sudan are some of the countries planning to hold bid rounds or attract investments in 2018.

Former Soviet Union

Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan have all amended their fiscal regimes for 2018 in order to incentivize new investment.

Asia & Oceania

India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, China, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand are some of the countries planning to hold bid rounds or attract investments in 2018.