Egypt has launched its second bid round of the year with state oil firm EGPC’s Upper (southern) Egypt-focussed arm Ganope on 1 August offering 10 blocks, half located in the Gulf of Suez and the other half deep in the country’s remote Saharan southwest.

Much of the Gulf of Suez acreage has been heavily drilled and explored and companies will see it as a relatively low-risk investment, while the desert south west is largely frontier territory – albeit territory that has...