US oil and gas company Apache has signed two exploration agreements with the Egyptian government worth at least $44m, as authorities try to push through new deals in an effort to increase activity in the sector and ease the country’s gas shortage.

The agreements were signed on 10 September and require Apache to drill 11 wells. The agreements include $25m in state grants, according to Middle East News Agency (MENA).

Oil Minister Sherif Ismail said 15 agreements on oil and natural gas exploration will be signed in the upcoming days, and another 35 agreements have already been signed, including eight old agreements that have been modified.