Egypt signed nine oil and gas exploration deals worth $1 billion with local and international energy companies, the country's petroleum minister said in a statement.
The awards allow the companies to conduct exploration along the eastern and western Mediterranean as well as the Red Sea. Six large oil and gas companies will drill 17 wells to explore for oil and gas finds, Tarek El Molla said on late Friday.
"Egypt seeks luring new international investments in gas and oil exploration, and concluding deals with big companies as a priority," he said.
The latest deals include exploration agreements with international majors such as Exxon Mobil, Chevron, BP, Total and Shell, the ministry said.
In September, Italy's Eni said it had discovered a gas field in the waters of the Nile Delta, offshore Egypt.
The discovery is located in the Great Nooros area, located in the Abu Madi Development Lease and was confirmed after Eni drilled an exploratory well in the concession area.
Preliminary evaluation of results from the testing well as well as the associated reservoir and recent discoveries in the area indicate that Great Nooros Area is estimated to hold up to 4 trillion cubic feet of gas.
Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous state, has benefited massively from its discovery of the Zohr field through Eni in 2016 in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The find sparked search for more hydrocarbon resources along the Nile Delta and western desert as the North African country looked to leverage these discoveries to become a net exporter of gas, particularly to markets in Europe.
Last year, Egypt awarded US oil major Chevron, Anglo-Dutch Shell and Abu Dhabi's Mubadala rights to explore for oil and gas in the Red Sea as it expands its search for new hydrocarbon reserves.
After it awarded exploration licences to concessions in the western and eastern desert regions, the Nile Delta and the Gulf of Suez, Egypt said it intends to launch another round that included blocks in the Red Sea.
The Red Sea has become a hotspot for exploration, with Saudi Arabia, the world's largest exporter of oil, also looking to explore reserves in its territorial waters.
In 2019, the kingdom announced the discovery of large quantities of gas in the Red Sea. Saudi Arabia plans to conduct an investment feasibility study on the scheme and intensify exploration over the next two years.