The Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources has signed a protocol with the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation to cooperate on drilling 500 wells in the area of West Minya, to access underground water for irrigation, Ahmed Anwar, Chairman of Sino Tharwa, told Egypt Oil and Gas.

According to Anwar, based on the protocol signed, the Egyptian General Petroleum Company (EGPC) signed an agreement in August 2015 with the the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation to carry out the project, where the EGPC later assigned Sino Tharwa all tasks related to drilling.

The estimated cost of drilling the 500 wells is EGP 1.125b, Anwar explained, adding that the company issued a bid to lease 20 rigs with the ability to reach depths of 1,200 to 1,500 ft, with the required rigs becoming available within the next two months.

The project began on October 28th, and Sino Tharwa used currently available equipment to begin work, completing the first well by the October 30th.

The first phase of the project includes supplying underground water to 1.5m acres, while other phases will see the project expanded to cover 4m acres.