The Egyptian government will give priority to state-run firms when awarding permits for oil and gas exploration, Oil Minister Sameh Fahmi said in remarks published on Monday.
"Approval for oil or gas exploration will be granted with priority given to companies which are 100-percent owned by the oil (and mineral resources) ministry," Fahmi told the government newspaper Al-Akhbar.
No other details were available on how many permits would be awarded or how many private Egyptian or foreign firms had a chance of winning permits for prospection.
New fields discovered in the Mediterranean sea in late 1999 raised Egypt's oil reserves from 3.7 to 8.2 billion barrels and gas reserves from 36.5 trillion cubic meters to 120 trillion cubic meters.
British Gas, BP Amoco of the United States and ENI of Italy are working on these fields in cooperation with the state-run Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC).—AFP.
©--Agence France Presse 2001.
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)