Egyptian companies must prioritize exploration and drilling for oil, the Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Tarek El Molla, said, Daily News Egypt reports.

The minister tasked Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC), Ganoub EL Wadi Petroleum Company (Ganope), and Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) with prioritizing drilling and exploration for oil in upcoming tenders to increase production and decrease imports.

EGPC was directed to collect data on unexploited areas in the Gulf of Suez and the Western Desert, an industry source told Daily News Egypt.

Egypt’s oil production has remained stagnant for a number of years, according to the source, at approximately 650,000-700,000 barrels per day (b/d) despite increasing demand.

EGPC plans to launch a new exploration and production (E&P) tender for crude oil before the end of the year, Amwal Al Ghad reports.