On 2 Nov 2016, the Bulgarian government decided to open a call for tender to grant a new oil and gas exploration licence. The exploration block is “1-25 Vratsa West”, located onshore in the north-west part of Bulgaria. The exploration area will be 4,886 sq. km.

The government announced that the call for tender was initiated following an investor’s request.

Tenders will be evaluated and ranked based on proposed work programmes, funds for environmental protection, signing bonuses, educational programmes and tenderers’ operational and financial capacities.

The decision announcing the main terms and conditions of the call for tender will be published first in the Bulgarian State Gazette and then in the EU Official Journal. Tender terms will start running at the time of the latter publication. Tender documentation will be available for purchase within 120 days after the EU Official Journal publication. Applications for participation in the tender must be submitted within 140 days and the deadline for the submission of the offers of admitted applicants is 155 days after the publication in the EU Official Journal.

This new call for tender was decided just five days after Total announced an oil discovery in the large Han Asparuh Block, offshore Bulgaria.