According to the Ministry's statement, in the second bidding round 19 exploration licenses were tendered, each one being up to 400 km² in size. The 19 licenses were grouped into five zones, each up to 1,600 km² in size.

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The Ministry decided to market the areas in zones of 3-4 licenses in order to provide a higher degree of compatibility between the geological structures within the exploration areas which could contain oil and natural gas reservoirs, while the larger exploration areas will lead companies into more extensive and thorough geological and geophysical surveys.

In addition, the statement informed that the licenses will be provided for a 3-year period, during which, licensees are expected to carry out the committed work program, which centers on examining the area. After this, the licensees can ask for an additional two-year extension.

Yuval Steinitz, Israel's Minister of Energy, commented

The proposals that we received will increase significantly the number of oil and gas exploration licenses in Israel’s Exclusive Economic Zone, from 8 to 20.

He continued that the participation of European companies along with the Leviathan platform that will be connected to the shore and the ongoing work on the development of the Karish field, will tackle the monopoly and boost competition in this sector.

The third licensing round is due to be held in 2021.

Credit: Israeli Ministry of Energy