Petronas’ Malaysia Petroleum Management (MPM) has delayed the deadline for bid submissions for ongoing licensing round Malaysia Bid Round 2022 (MBR 2022).

Without elaborating, MPM said the deadline has been pushed back from 30 June to 15 July 2022.

While no reason was given, such moves are typically due to prospective bidders requesting more time to review the available data and prepare their submissions, or potentially because of a lacklustre response to date as the original deadline looms.

However, this licensing round could also be being affected by the prevailing oil price. When MBR 2022 was launched, WTI for March delivery was about $86 per barrel and the corresponding Brent oil price was about $89.4 per barrel. However, WTI today is trading above $116 per barrel and Brent is above $119 per barrel.

MBR 2022 comprises 14 exploration blocks that host a combined 15 discovered fields, six discovered resources opportunities (DROs) consisting of 37 individual DROs, and one long life asset that comprises three fields.

Two study areas are also on offer covering four blocks: three in Sabah and one in Peninsular Malaysia.

“It is time for you to make that smart decision,” MPM said on Wednesday, when it revealed the bid deadline postponement.

“We are offering prolific basins with proven potential, attractive production sharing contract terms, longer exploration period, drill ready prospects, flexible arrangement, accelerated technical evaluation and proximity and connectivity to production hubs.”

MPM estimates 21 billion barrels of oil equivalent remain to be discovered across Malaysia, of which about 6 billion boe is located in deep water, mostly offshore Sabah and Sarawak.

Only 116 deep-water wells have been drilled offshore Malaysia to date, which is less than 10% of the nation’s total well count.

The MBR 2022 virtual data room opened on 27 January in tandem with the round’s launch and had been scheduled to close at 5pm local time on 30 June, the same date as the original deadline for bid submissions.

The launch of the latest licensing round in Kuala Lumpur was attended in person by about 100 industry players and there were 400 virtual attendees from 68 countries, MPM senior vice president Mohamed Firouz Asnan said.

Prospective companies can visit the MBR 2022 webpage at PETRONAS MBR 2022.