Egypt will launch a bid round for as-yet unexplored offshore acreage in the Red Sea by the end of the year, oil minister Tarek El Molla announced this week. In December last year, state oil firm EGPC’s southern Egypt arm Ganope signed a minimum 15-year deal with Norway’s TGS and Houston-based oilfield services firm Schlumberger to provide “exclusive multi-client rights in a 70,000km² open offshore area in Egypt’s Red Sea region.”

Cairo extended the...