Egypt signs two Mediterranean deals with Exxon Mobil: ministry

FILE PHOTO: Logos of ExxonMobil are seen in its booth at Gastech, the world's biggest expo for the gas industry, in Chiba, Japan April 4, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt has signed two deals with Exxon Mobil Corp for oil and gas exploration in the Mediterranean, the petroleum ministry said on Tuesday.

The deals involve a minimum investment of $332 million, the ministry said in a statement. Exxon Mobil announced the acquisition of more than 1.7 million acres last month.

The first agreement is for exploration in the North East Amriya block, with a minimum investment of $220 million, the ministry said.

The second is for the North Marakia block, with a minimum investment of $112 million.

The discovery of the giant Mediterranean field of Zohr by Italy’s Eni in 2015 sparked increasing interest and investment in Egypt’s energy sector.

The country is trying to position itself as an energy hub in the eastern Mediterranean, importing gas from Israel and exporting to Jordan and potentially to Europe and Asia.

The ministry said the Exxon Mobil agreements bring the total number of deals with investors to 82 since 2014, with a total minimum investment of about $16 billion for the drilling of 340 wells.

Reporting by Ehab Farouk; writing by Aidan Lewis; editing by Louise Heavens and Jason Neely