Egypt has launched its latest bid round with 12 blocks available in the Mediterranean Sea and the onshore Nile Delta that between them have the potential to house some 36 trillion cubic feet of gas.

This licensing round follows hard on the heels of a 3.5 Tcf gas discovery made by Chevron in the offshore Nile Delta play and aims to stimulate more exploration in a country whose demand for gas continues to rise.

The North African nation’s growing economy and population need power, which in recent years has resulted in gas being imported from Israel, with insufficient gas available to fully feed two liquefied natural gas plants on the Mediterranean coast.