Oil discoveries in Upper Egypt to fuel investments, says minister

Egypt's Oil Ministry said on Saturday it expected an influx of new investments and agreements from international companies for further research and exploration in seven of Upper Egypt's pristine areas.

Sameh Fahmi, Egypt's petroleum and mineral resources minister, said a discovery of oil in the country's southern Al-Baraka field and the presence of an active oil system in Upper Egypt would cause a significant change in the country's petroleum map.

In 2010, Egypt's South Valley Holding Company for Petroleum offered the lands in an international auction after four discoveries in Al-Baraka field. The bidding will close late January.

The ministry said on Friday it aimed to attract US$2.5 billion worth of new investments in its oil sector with a plan of as many as 18 oil concessions to be offered for bidding.

The minister said the total proven reserves of Al-Baraka field is estimated at about 25.2 million barrels while its total cumulative production since December 2007 to date is over 300,000 barrels.

Fahmi said there were plans to drill two new exploratory wells in the field in addition to five development wells.

Al-Baraka, which had a total investment of US$60 million in 2010, has an estimated production rate of 1,100 barrels per day and it is aimed to push it to 2,000 barrels a day during 2011-2012.

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