The Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources has reportedly announced to have signed two oil and gas deals aimed at exploring two deep-water locations in Western Sahara and the Mediterranean Sea along with Canadian, Dutch, British, Kuwaiti and Malaysian companies, for a minimum investment of over $1 billion.

As per trusted sources, the first agreement has been inked with the Egyptian Petroleum Authority, Malaysia’s Petronas and Shell International to explore the West Delta maritime region with nearly $1 billion investment to drill eight new wells.

The country also signed a second agreement with the Petroleum Authority, Canadian Dover and Rockhopper, and Kuwaiti energy companies which would enable exploration into Western Sahara. The agreement has been supported by an investment of $10 million along with a $2 million signing grant for drilling four wells in the region.

Tarek al-Mulla, Minister of Petroleum apparently said that the oil sector will continue offering international bids as well as sign new agreements with the intention to expand the oil and gas resources of the country, lower oil imports, and meet the needs of the local market. He further mentioned that the oil and gas reforms implemented by the country over the past years have led to outstanding results.

According to authentic reports, the nation now aspires to establish itself as a regional gas hub after the discovery of the massive Zohr gas field in offshore Egypt.

For the record, Zohr gas field is the first-of-its-kind in the Mediterranean region with reserves predicted to be 30 tons cubic feet. These numbers will reportedly double the output capacity of the field which would invariably reduce the country’s dependency on LNG gas imports.

Egypt has signed 63 new oil and gas exploration deals since June 2014 along with exploration agreements with an investment of $15 billion, cite sources.