CAIRO: The Ministry of Petroleum signed three agreements with Chinese oil and gas companies during a recent visit by the Minister of Petroleum Sameh Fahmi to China.
The first agreement involves the establishment of a joint venture to manufacture oil drillers in order to explore for oil in Egypt, which will be the first of its kind in the Middle East and Africa regions.
The minister said the agreement includes building three drillers in 2007 for the Egyptian Chinese Sino-Tharwa Company, seven drillers in 2008 and 20 drillers by 2010.
He said the aim of setting up the company is to meet the local market demand for oil drilling machinery in view of the high cost of leasing drillers and to export machinery to neighboring markets, especially African countries.
The minister said the second agreement was signed with the Chinese Sinoc, which will allow the company to compete for Egyptian exploration bids and to cooperate with Egyptian oil services companies for operations in neighboring countries.
“A third agreement was signed with Sinopec, the Chinese partner in Sino-Tharwa, for the digging and maintenance of oil wells in Egypt, the minister added.
The agreement will increase the number of drilling rigs at Sino-Tharwa to four in addition to three drillers next year.