Egypt’s Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Tarek el-Molla, signed on Friday nine new agreements to search for oil and natural gas in the eastern and western regions of the Mediterranean Sea and the regional waters of the Red Sea.
The agreements were signed with six major international and Egyptian companies, including Egypt’s Tharwa Petroleum Company, and have an estimated minimum investment of more than one billion dollars.
According to Molla, the agreements come as a part of the ministry’s initiative to promote investment opportunities and attract global investors to Egypt in hopes of creating strong partnerships with major companies in the global petroleum industry, such as Shell, BP, and Total.
The minister also explained that the nine new agreements are part of a group of 12 agreements that the ministry brokered during the initial outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. The remaining three agreements are still under negotiation.
The agreements seek to drill 23 wells in nine regions in the eastern and western Mediterranean Sea and three regions in the Red Sea.
Five of the nine agreements were signed with the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS). The company has two agreements with the American Exxon Mobil Company and three with the American Chevron Company and its Egyptian partner, Tharwa Petroleum.
The sixth agreement was signed with the Britain’s BP and Tharwa, and the seventh with France’s Total and its partners, Shell, Kuwaiti KUFPEC and Tharwa. The final two agreements were signed with the South Valley Egyptian Petroleum Holding Company.
According to a Worldometer report, as of 2016, Egypt was producing 682,904 barrels of oil per day, ranking 27th in the world. The country exports roughly 25 percent of its production.
The Petroleum Ministry’s integrated strategy to develop Egypt’s natural gas resources has resulted in the highest rates of natural gas production in Egypt’s history and self-sufficiency in gas, Petroleum Minister Tarek al-Molla announced in September.
He added that international companies are now eager to assert and expand their presence in the country thanks to the current stability Egypt is enjoying.
Work is underway on a developmental project to transform Egypt into a regional center for gas and oil trade.
Egypt is the largest non-OPEC oil producer in Africa.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm
IMAGE: Eni’s Bouri Offshore oil terminal is seen off the Libyan coast, in the Mediterranean sea, Tuesday, August 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)