French oil company Total has been awarded a license to explore for natural gas in the Nile Delta, a source in the state-run Egyptian Natural Gas Holding company (EGAS) said.
"France's Total won the bid to explore in Sector 2 in the Delta region," the source told Reuters on condition of anonymity. In December, Egypt's General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) and Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) announced an international auction for oil and gas exploration concessions in accordance with production sharing agreements.
The concessions are for areas in the Suez Canal, Egypt's western desert, the Mediterranean sea and the Nile Delta.
In addition to Total, Dana Gas , BP , Eni , Petroceltic and Edison have won concessions in the Mediterranean Sea and the Nile Delta.
Germany's RWE has won two exploration blocks in the Gulf of Suez, while Tunisia's HBSI, Canada's TransGlobe and Italy's Edison secured five blocks in Egypt's western desert.
Egypt has been struggling with soaring energy bills caused by the high subsidies it provides on fuel for its population of 85 million. The subsidies have turned the country from a net energy exporter into a net importer over the last few years.
Egypt has started repaying some of its debt to foreign oil companies, which had reached more than $6 billion.