JERUSALEM, Oct. 28 (Xinhua) -- The Israeli Ministry of Energy granted on Monday oil and natural gas exploration licenses to British energy companies Cairn and Pharos Energy for the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
According to the ministry's announcement, 12 licenses for offshore blocks were distributed in the latest round of tenders.
Eight of them have been awarded a partnership that includes the two British companies and the Israeli partnership Ratio, which already has exploration licenses in other Mediterranean areas.
Cairn, headquartered in Edinburgh, Scotland, explores and produces oil and gas in a variety of locations worldwide.
Pharos Energy, based in London, operates in oil and gas exploration off the coasts of Vietnam and Egypt.
Both companies are listed on the London Stock Exchange.
Four additional licenses were granted to the Greece-based Energean Oil & Gas company, in partnership with the local company Israel Opportunity.
The licenses were approved by the ministry's advisory Petroleum Council after examining the threshold conditions and work plans submitted by the companies.
Israel's Minister of Energy Yuval Steinitz said "the new licenses allow new players to enter the natural gas economy in Israel, leading to increased competition and continued dismantling of the monopoly."
In the previous procedure ended in November 2017, six exploring licenses were granted to Energean and an Indian consortium. Another competitive procedure is expected to take place in 2021.