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Egypt, Italy sign $105m oil exploration deal off Sinai

The Egyptian Council of Ministers has approved an agreement to search for oil and gas in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of northern Sinai.

Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tariq Al-Mulla presented the agreement between the Italian company Eni and the Egyptian Tharwa company, to the Council of Ministers yesterday at a press conference.

The oil minister stated that the Northern Sinai region lies in shallow waters, where the depth ranges between 200 and 350 metres. The agreement stated that the participating companies will invest $105 million in two stages over six years, of which $75 million will go towards digging a well in the first phase and another in the second.

Read: Terror in Sinai not over, says Sisi

The deal came a few days after Eni announced a new oil discovery at the A-2X exploration prospect, located in the South West Meleiha license in Egypt's Western Desert.

Italy's Eni is best known for its 2015 discovery of the largest offshore gas field in the Mediterranean: "Zohr", inaugurated by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi earlier this year which is estimated to produce some 1.2 billion cubic feet of gas per day.

Egypt has rapidly increased its production of natural gas with aims to achieve self-sufficiency in gas.

Read: Egyptian companies mull importing gas from Israel

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