Apex International Energy and Royal Dutch Shell signed exploration and production (E&P) agreements with the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC), Egypt Oil & Gas reports.

Under the terms of the contracts, the companies provided $32.2 million in signing bonuses and will invest at least $81.4 million in the E&P projects in the Western Desert. The companies are required to drill 16 new wells.

“We are eager to get started on drilling wells to maximize the full potential of these blocks, while pursuing additional opportunities to grow our business in Egypt,” Raed Saba, Apex’s Deputy General Manager and Exploration Manager in Egypt, stated.

Shell committed to invest $35.5 million in the North Um Baraka Concession while APEX will invest $26.5 million in the South East Meleiha Concession and $19.4 million in the West Badr El Din Concession.

Apex’s concessions are located in the Abu Gharadig Basin and comprise 1.7 million acres. The West Badr el Din Concession consists of 4,180 square kilometers and the South East Meleiha Concession consists of 2,535 square kilometers.

During the first phase of the project, Apex will invest a minimum of $27.4 million to perform detailed geological studies and drill exploratory wells.

The companies were awarded the contracts as a part of EGPC’s 2016 bid round.

The agreements were signed by the Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources, Tarek El Molla; Head of EGPC, Abed Ezz EL Regal; the Chairman of Shell Egypt, Gasser Hanter; the CEO of APEX, Thomas Maher. Also attending the ceremony were the Ministry’s First Under Secretaries, Mohamed Moanes and Ashraf Farag, and the Vice President for Agreements and Exploration of EGPC, Ossama Farouk.

Apex International Energy is an independent oil and gas exploration and production company focused on Egypt and backed by Warburg Pincus, a global private equity firm focused on growth investment.