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CAIRO Dec 28 Egyptian Oil Minister Tarek El
Molla has signed three offshore oil and gas exploration and
production deals worth a total of at least $220 million with
France's Total, Britain's BP, and Italian oil
major ENI's Egyptian subsidiary IEOC, the ministry said
The deals include drilling for six wells and a signing bonus
of $9 million, the ministry said in a statement, and are the
result of a tender called by Egyptian state gas board EGAS. They
are all in exploration blocks in the Egyptian Mediterranean Sea.
The first deal, with a consortium of BP and IEOC, is worth
$75 million for an exploration block in the North Ras El Esh
block; the second, with a consortium of all three companies, is
in the North El Hammad block and is worth $80 million, and the
third, with BP alone, is in the North Tabia block and worth $65
Egypt has gone from exporting energy to being a net importer
as domestic output has failed to keep pace with rising demand.
Saudi Arabia informed Egypt last month that shipments of oil
products expected under a $23 billion aid deal had been halted
The government is seeking ways to help the country cope and
Molla said last week that Egypt wanted to import crude oil
directly from Iraq and he hoped to finalise the deal by the
first quarter of 2017.
The oil sector in Egypt has signed 73 oil and gas
exploration deals with international oil companies in the past
three years worth at least $15 billion so far, Molla said in
Wednesday's statement, and signing bonuses of over $1 billion
for the drilling of 306 wells.
Earlier on Wednesday, an EGAS official told Reuters the
board had determined Egypt needed around 100 shipments of
liquefied natural gas worth $2.2 billion in 2017 and had already
secured 60 shipments.
(Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein; Editing by Giles Elgood and