Egypt’s Oil Ministry said it expected an influx of new investment and agreements with international companies for further oil research and exploration in seven of Upper Egypt’s pristine areas.

Sameh Fahmy, 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.

A report by the holding company for petroleum activities for the next fiscal year said there would be drilling of 12 exploratory wells in areas of the Western Sahara, the Eastern Sahara, and the Red Sea with investments worth $90 million besides development investments.

The ministry said it aimed to attract $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.

Fahmy 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 $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.

(Source: Reuters)