Italian oil and gas company Eni has received five new exploration licences from the Egyptian government, including four as operator.

The licences, located offshore and onshore, were awarded as part of the Egypt International Bid Round for Petroleum Exploration and Exploitation, launched in 2021 by the Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources.

Covering a total acreage of approximately 8,410km², the licences include Block EGY-MED-E5 and Block EGY-MED-E6 in the Mediterranean Sea, Block EGY-GOS-13 in the Gulf of Suez, and Blocks Egy-WD- 7 and EGY-WD-9 in the Western Desert.

In a statement, Eni said: “The licences are placed within prolific basins with proved petroleum systems able to generate liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons, and can also rely on nearby existing producing and processing facilities and on a demanding market that will allow a quick valorisation of the potential exploration discoveries.”

The results are in line with the Italian firm’s strategy to continue to explore and produce gas in Egypt to sustain the domestic market.

Eni has operated in Egypt since 1954. It has a hydrocarbon production of approximately 350,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, making it the country’s main producer.

The Egyptian government awarded a total of eight oil and gas exploration blocks.

The eight blocks cover a total area of nearly 12,300km², and the winning bidders are expected to drill a minimum of 33 wells.

Other firms that received the licences include BP , Energean Egypt , Apex International , United Energy , Sipetrol, and INA.

Last year, Egypt unveiled plans for oil and natural gas exploration at nine new sites in the Mediterranean and Red Seas, with an estimated investment of $1.4bn.

As part of the plan, the government expects to drill a total of 23 new wells across both seas.