Egypt signs $2.3 billion oil, gas agreements

CAIRO Mon Aug 17, 2009 5:38am EDT

CAIRO Aug 17 (Reuters) - Egypt has signed agreements for oil and natural gas exploration that are expected to bring in new investments of $2.3 billion, an official at the Oil Ministry said on Monday.

"Of the total, five are extensions and amendments to already existing deals and one is a completely new deal," the official told Reuters.

The deals were signed with BP PLc (BP.L), IEOC, a unit of Italy's Eni (ENI.MI) and Egyptian firm Tharwa on Sunday for exploration in the Eastern Desert, Nile Delta, Gulf of Suez and North Sinai.

The agreements include an exploration deal signed between the state-owned Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation and BP and IEOC worth $1.1 billion and another signed between the same three partners worth $900 million.

The new deal, with Tharwa, is for exploration over an area of 43 square km (16.6 sq mile) in the Eastern Desert, together with Ganoub el-Wadi Petroleum Holding Company, and is worth $17.5 million. (Reporting by Maha El Dahan, editing by Anthony Barker)