Private-equity backed Neptune Energy Group Holdings Ltd. and Germany's DEA AG are bidding for the oil and gas assets in Egypt, Italy and elsewhere being sold by EDF's Italian unit Edison SpA, industry sources said Jan. 25.

The offers are non-binding at this stage, one of the sources said. Edison wants to exit oil and gas production to focus on its domestic electricity and gas retail business.

Edison's oil and gas production has grown sharply in the past decade, with activities focused in Italy, the British and Norwegian North Sea, Egypt, Israel, Algeria, Croatia and the Falkland Islands.

The Egyptian assets, including the Abu Qir concession and more than 250 million barrels of oil equivalent in reserves, are one of the most attractive parts, accounting for more than 50% of the value of the portfolio, sources said.

The Italian assets account for about a third of the value.

"You're buying Edison for Egypt," one source with knowledge of the matter said.

Private equity-backed Apex International Co. Ltd. also looked at the assets but decided against bidding for the whole package as it was mostly interested in the Egyptian and Norwegian assets, one of the sources said.

EDF, Neptune, Apex and DEA, which is in the process of merging with BASF's Wintershall AG, declined to comment.