Global news agency Reuters reports that Egypt has signed three oil and gas exploration deals, with Royal Dutch Shell and the US-based Apex International Energy, for 16 new fields in its Western Desert region.
Reuters reports that the deals, which were signed by Oil Minister Tarek El Molla, are worth an estimated $81.4mn.
The Petroleum Ministry said in a statement that as per the first agreement Shell would invest $35.5mn, and the other two would see Apex, which is operating in Egypt for the first time, invest a combined $45.9mn on two projects.
Egypt, which used to be a net energy exporter, has become a net importer in recent years as consumption has increased while production has fallen.
The government has been on a drive to lure back foreign investors to its energy sector in an effort to address a squeeze on public finances.
In December, Egypt accepted six bids for oil and gas exploration worth up to $200mn.