In a landmark deal, Egypt awarded its first unconventional gas contracts to Texas-based Apache Corporation and Shell Egypt, a subsidiary of British-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell.

The deal, which includes investments of around $30-40 Million, was signed by Eng. Tarek El Mulla, Chief Executive of EGPC, Tom Maher, President of Apache and Aiden Murphy, Chairman of Shell Egypt.

Minister of Petroleum Eng. Sherif Ismail stated his belief that the project, to take place in the Abuel Garadeek region of the Western Desert, will open up new energy opportunities for the country.

The deal went through despite low global energy prices, which has put off many firms from investing in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which is more expensive to extract.