Egypt signs new oil exploration deal with U.S. Apache

Egypt signed a new oil exploration agreement worth around $9 million with U.S. oil company Apache, the oil ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

The agreement for drilling in the East Bahariya concession in the Western Desert also included $30 million in state grants, with Apache expected to drill 7 new wells, the statement said.

Oil Minister Tarek el-Molla said 87 oil exploration deals were signed since 2014, planning to sign 14 more soon.

Abed Ezz El Regal, chairman of the state-run Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC), signed the agreement with David Chi, Apache’s region vice president and general manager.

Egypt, which used to be a net energy exporter, has become a net importer in recent years as consumption has increased while production has fallen.

The government has been on a drive to lure back foreign investors to its energy sector in an effort to address a squeeze on public finances.