Cairo said on Sunday that US oil company Apache has expressed interest in expanding its activities and investments in Egypt, "breaking new ground" for cooperation with the Egyptian petroleum sector.
In an official statement, Egypt’s petroleum and mineral resources ministry said minister Tarek El-Molla met with a delegation from the American company, where they discussed work underway at the company’s concessions in the Western Desert.
Both sides discussed the company’s intensive work pursuing oil discoveries in the West Kalabsha and West Kanayes concessions, after a trial of advanced seismic surveys in the areas succeeded.
The drilling programme in eastern Bahariya in the Western Desert, where drilling will start during the third quarter of the current year, was also discussed.
According to the statement, production from eastern Bahariya is predicted to start six months after drilling operations.
Apache also expressed their interest in Egypt’s international major tender for oil and gas exploration, specifically in bidding on 11 blocs, including five in the Western Desert.
In May Egypt announced it will launch two international bid rounds for oil and gas exploration in 2018.
One bid round will cover 16 concession areas, mostly in the Mediterranean Sea, under state buyer EGAS, in its largest ever bid round.
The other auction will cover 11 concession areas under the Egyptian General Petroleum Corp (EGPC).
Egypt has been seeking to speed up production from recently discovered fields, with an eye to halting imports by the end of 2018 and achieving self-sufficiency.
The Zohr field, discovered by Italian giant Eni and deemed the largest natural gas discovery ever made in the Mediterranean Sea, is located off Egypt's northern coast, within the Shorouk block, some 190 km north of Port Said.
The field was discovered in August 2015; production began in December 2017 with a time-to-market of 2.3 years.
The mammoth gas field is set to transform Egypt's liquid natural gas (LNG) industry, ending Egypt's importation of the product.
In May, Eni announced the start-up of the third production unit (T-2) of the Zohr field project, increasing its functional capacity to 1.2 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d).