Egypt plans late March gas auction

March 15, 2012 at 7:19 AM

CAIRO, March 15 (UPI) -- An Egyptian natural gas company said it plans auction exploration sites near its maritime border with Israeli by the end of the month.

U.S. energy company Noble Energy announced in February it made a natural gas discovery off the Israeli coast with a gross natural resource estimate of around 1.2 trillion cubic feet.

Sources in the Egyptian Petroleum Minister informed news agency Egyptian Independent on condition of anonymity that Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Co. has scheduled a late March auction for natural gas sites near the maritime border with Israel.

Petroleum experts working at a university in Alexandria said the race is on for natural resources available in the Mediterranean Sea.

The ministry source said the reserves on the auction block may hold as much as 223 trillion square feet of natural gas.

The news service notes Egypt and Israel haven't demarcated their maritime border. Israel hasn't signed the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, a treaty governing the management of marine natural resources.

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