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Licensing rounds announcements and developments

The industry's most comprehensive list of current and recent rounds for onshore and offshore licenses

Planned rounds

Israel is set to launch a third offshore licensing round. No date has been set but it is expected to take place in 2021. The second offshore round ended on 28 October 2019, awarding eight licenses zones A and C and four licenses in zone D but no blocks in zone B.

The Liberia Petroleum Regulatory Authority (LPRA) announced an offshore licensing round that will run between 10 April and 1 October. Nine Harper basin blocks will be offered, with NOC Nocal, the LPRA and offshore seismic data firm TGS supporting the process.

South Sudan has delayed the start of its first ever oil and gas bidding round due to the coronavirus. It planned to offer 14 blocks in a process starting during March 2020. The country has closed its borders and banned public meetings. The new timeline is yet to be announced.

Thailand has delayed its 23rd bid round, that was scheduled for 2020, indefinitely due to the coronavirus. The nation’s first round in 13 years, to include three blocks in the Gulf of Thailand, will resume when international travel is possible.

Trinidad & Tobago is expected to commence its 2020 deep water competitive bid round in Q3. The energy ministry issued an invitation to nominate acreage, running 2 March to 30 June 2020. Companies can nominate any number of blocks. The shallow water competitive bid round 2018 closed on 20 May 2019 but the outcome is still pending.

Open rounds

Lebanon’s Ministry of Energy and Water and the Lebanese Petroleum Administration extended the deadline to submit licensing round applications for its second offshore licensing round from 31 January to 30 April. 

Senegal’s 2020 licensing round opened on 31 January, with a closing date of 31 July. The round comprises 12 offshore blocks in the MSGBC basin. The round is supported by more than 14,000km² of 2D, more than 10,000km² of 3D and more than 50,000km² of multibeam data. 

“The development of oil and gas assets in the Gulf of Mexico is a highlight of the Outer Continental Shelf” Celata, BOEM

Pending awards

Australia offshore round 2019 closed on 5 March. The round opened on 31 July 2019 and awards are expected in the second quarter. The acreage comprises 64 areas across five sedimentary basins located in the Northern Territory, Western Australia, Victoria and, located off the north west coast, the Territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands.

Conditionally awarded

The US has conditionally awarded licenses based on Lease Sale 254, Gulf of Mexico, 2020. The auction took place on 18 March 2020. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced it generated over $93mn in high bids for 71 tracts covering 397,285 acres in federal waters. The lease sale attracted 22 companies to submit bids totalling over $108mn.

“The development of oil and gas assets in the Gulf of Mexico is a highlight of the Outer Continental Shelf,” BOEM’s Gulf of Mexico office regional director Mike Celata says. “Large deposits of hydrocarbons in the region will draw the interest of industry for decades.”

Lease Sale 254 was the sixth offshore sale under the 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program. 10 lease sales are scheduled for the Gulf, with two held each year.

The above licensing round updates all occurred before 29 March.

Petroleum Economist regularly updates an interactive licensing round map on its website—searchable alphabetically or by clicking on countries—at You can also sign up for future Licensing Rounds: Status Update newsletters. 

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