(Ecofin Agency) - Egyptian Petroleum Minister, Tarek El-Molla (photo) on Tuesday revealed that the country will launch a new oil exploration round in the coming week, to offer 11 blocks in the Western desert and the Gulf of Suez.
According to him, Egypt also plans to launch two gas exploration rounds this year.
Egypt used to be a net energy exporter, but increased consumption and declining output has made the country become a net importer in recent years.
The Federal Government has been struggling to attract foreign investors back to the energy sector in order to look into the squeeze on public finances.
As a matter of fact, Egypt currently owes nearly $3 billion to foreign oil companies for oil and gas deliveries.
Efforts to lure exploration investment in the country has become difficult as the oil prices in the international market has been on a downward trend over the past two years, although the Zohr significant gas discovery by Eni off the Mediterranean coast in August 2015, has bolstered interest offshore Egypt, Reuters reports.