Egypt says signs seismic survey deal with Schlumberger

FILE PHOTO: The exterior of a Schlumberger Corporation building is pictured in West Houston, Texas, U.S. on January 16, 2015. REUTERS/Richard Carson/File Photo

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt has signed a deal with oilfield services company Schlumberger to conduct a seismic survey in the Gulf of Suez, the oil ministry said on Wednesday, part of efforts to encourage firms to invest in exploration work in the area.

The oil ministry announced an agreement with an international company on Monday to conduct a seismic survey of the Gulf of Suez to attract exploration investment, but did not identify the company and gave no details.

The deal, signed on the sidelines of an energy conference in Cairo, allows Schlumberger to start work on the survey.

The ministry did not give the value of the deal.

Egypt has been on a drive to attract more investment in its energy sector and speed up production at recent discoveries in order to become gas self-sufficient by the end of 2018.

“The region is still full of promising petroleum prospects that require further work and studies to re-discover the gulf’s petroleum reservoirs and those that have not yet been discovered,” Egyptian petroleum minister Tarek El Molla said in a statement.

Molla also oversaw the signing of another agreement with Schlumberger that included a data center on areas open for exploration in Egypt, also part of the country’s efforts to make it easier for foreign companies to invest in exploration work.

Egypt last year began production at its mammoth offshore Zohr gas field in the Mediterranean, with initial output of 350 million cubic feet per day. Discovered in 2015 by Italy’s Eni, the field contains an estimated 30 trillion cubic feet of gas.

Reporting by Ehad Farouk; Writing by Sami Aboudi, editing by David Evans