Egypt’s Minister of Petroleum Sherif Ismail has signed five new deals for petroleum excavation in West Ghazalat in the Western Desert, as well as in South and West Ghareb in the Eastern Desert, and in Sinai. The agreement with the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation includes Canadian TransGolbe Energy and Greek Vegas Oil & Gas. The deals involve investments worth at least US$115.5 million, as well as signature bonuses worth nearly US$41 million, all targeting 72 oil wells. In a press statement, Ismail said the new deals are part of 21 oil and gas excavation agreements previously approved by the government, which were initiated last week with the signature of nine agreements with international companies. Fourteen agreements have been signed, out of the total 21 approved, involving investments worth of US$585 million and signature bonuses of US$91 million, targeting a total of 87 wells. Ismail said he hopes the new deals would translate into an increased national oil and gas production. He stressed the importance of attracting more foreign excavators in order to secure Egypt’s future needs and reduce reliance on imports.