Egypt is studying setting up a company with China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (Sinopec) to provide oil services in Egypt, the Middle East and Africa, Egypt’s state news agency cited its oil minister as saying.

Drilling has been an important area of cooperation between Egypt and China, which jointly established the SinoTharwa Drilling Company in 2005, the Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported. China has invested heavily in some African states, but contributed just $60 million of the $8.1 billion in foreign direct investment Egypt attracted in the year to the end of June 2009, according to Egypt’s central bank.

There have been some signs this may shift. Egypt’s investment minister said in June the chairman of China’s sovereign wealth fund would visit Egypt to discuss infrastructure and other possible investments.

Oil Minister Sameh Fahmy met Sinopec President Su Shulin on Monday to discuss possible ways of boosting cooperation, MENA said.

(Source: Reuters)