Twenty-eight licensing rounds are currently open across the global oil and gas sector, with 13 scheduled to close by the end of the first quarter of 2019, according to a recent GlobalData report.

Africa and Asia dominate the volume of licensing round activities with six countries in Asia hosting eight licensing rounds and five sub-Saharan African countries hosting one round each, according to the 169-page report.

Oil and gas licensing rounds 2019

Africa is offering over 220,000 square kilometres (sq km) of acreage, primarily located in offshore territories, and while not all information has been disclosed for some licensing rounds in Asia, the areas offered are tending to be smaller in size, with fewer blocks released.

The Caribbean and South America will also see significant activity increases as Brazil, Ecuador, and Trinidad & Tobago are set to launch two rounds each in 2019.

In terms of acreage, Lease Sale 252 round in the US is offering the largest volume of acreage, offering approximately 317,000 sq km.

Significantly, in its first offshore bid round release scheduled to close this quarter, Argentina is offering a similar volume of acreage to all of the open African bid rounds combined.

Closing bid rounds: blocks on offer by bid round and terrain, Q1 2019

Source: Upstream Analytics, GlobalData Oil and Gas

A total of 14,950 blocks are on offer in the bid rounds due in Q1 2019; of these, 5,988 are deepwater blocks, 5,699 are shallow water blocks.

Among countries, the US has the highest number of blocks on offer with 14,699. Denmark’s ‘8th Licensing Round’ is the second highest in terms of blocks offered with 139.