The country is offering 15 blocks, including 11 offshore.

Having produced dozens of discoveries from the basin during the past four decades, including the Buzzard and Golden Eagle fields, more must be done to unearth its remaining riches.

The Eastern Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf have vast potential, NOIA and API surveys conclude.

The energy ministry aims to offer offshore blocks during a bidding round by year-end 2015.

Companies make plans for seismic work in search of finding oil and gas offshore.