The companies are all international firms and have started to purchase bidding documents, said Espinosa, without disclosing names.
Although the prequalification phase is due to close in late February, the round's timetable probably will be pushed back after President-elect Daniel Ortega takes office on January 10, he said.
A new calendar could be released by the end of this month or early February, he added.
Blocks in the second round cover 84,123 sq km and 33,546 sq km offshore the Caribbean and Pacific coasts, respectively.
Contracts in this latest round will mirror those in the first round with up to 4,000 sq km per contract. The contracts' exploration period is six years and 30 years for production.
Five E&P concession contracts were signed for the first round: Industrias Oklahoma Nicaragua (Indoklanicsa) picked up 19 Pacific offshore blocks (3,423 sq km); Infinity picked up Caribbean areas in the Perlas (2,291 sq km) and Tyra (3,330 sq km) blocks; and MKJ Exploraciones won areas in Perlas (4,000 sq km) and Tyra (4,000 sq km).
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