Oil minister Tarek El Molla held talks with chairman of Apex International Energy Thomas Maher about the company’s concessions in Egypt’s Western Desert in the attendance of a delegation from Blue Water Energy, Egypt Oil & Gas reports.

The US-based company won a seismic exploration tender at the West Badr el Din (4,180 sq km) and South East Meleiha (2,535 sq km) concessions in 2016 as part of the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation’s (EGPC) bid round. The company is planning to drill nine exploratory wells with investments of $51.1 million.

Maher added that the financial and technical partnership between Apex and Blue Water Energy will contribute to boosting the company’s activities in the Western Desert concessions as the latter has previous exploration and production experience in the North Sea.

El Molla said that these agreements are part of the government’s plan to increase the country’s hydrocarbon plans and turn Egypt into an international energy hub.