Egypt has set a new record by signing 83 exploration and production (E&P) contracts with international oil companies (IOCs) since June 30, 2013, according to the Egyptian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Tarek El Molla, Egypt Oil & Gas reports.

This confidence by IOCs is a result of the government’s reform efforts, El Molla noted, during a meeting with members of the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Egypt (CCFE); the French Ambassador to Egypt, Stephane Roumtier; and representatives French IOCs in Egypt. During the meeting, the participants discussed the challenges and opportunities facing Egypt’s oil and gas sector.

The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources plans to reveal its mineral development strategy next year, El Molla said.

The Chairman of CCFE, Mahmoud El Kaissy, praised the government’s efforts to overcome previous challenges to the sector, particularly in demarcating boundaries in the Red Sea. He noted that French companies are interested in investing in the Red Sea region.