Cairo, Egypt (Reuters) – Egypt has signed gas and oil exploration deals with the United Arab Emirate’s Dana Gas , Ireland’s Petroceltic International and Italy’s Edison, the oil ministry said on Thursday.
The deals will bring in investment of at least $265 million for eight new wells in Northern Sinai in Mediterranean Sea and Nile Delta, the statement said. Exploration companies have been hesitant to develop untapped gas finds in Egyptian waters partly because the amount the government pays them barely covers their investment costs.
Egypt has been struggling with soaring energy bills caused by high subsidies it provides on fuel for its population of 85 million. The subsidies have turned the country from a net energy exporter into a net importer over the last few years.
Egypt has started repaying some of its debt to foreign oil companies, which had reached more than $6 billion this year.