JERUSALEM, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- Israel launched the second offshore bid round to grant licenses for the exploration of natural gas and oil fields in its economic waters in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, announced Sunday by the Minister of Energy Yuval Steinitz.
The minister said "the fact that Israel has become a gas exporter to Jordan and Egypt, alongside completion of the agreement to build an Israeli-European gas pipeline, creates a more attractive environment for international energy companies".
The upcoming bid round is pursuant to an earlier round which began two years ago and granted six licenses, and some are expected to stay drilling in the coming months.
In the new bid round, licenses for 19 blocks will be issued in five zones. The submission step will end by June 2019, and the announcement of the bid winners is expected to take place in July 2019.
An exploration license will be granted for an initial period of three years in which the licensees will follow through with the work plan that they have committed to.
After completing the work plan, the licensee can request a license extension for two years.