Egypt has announced six new oil and gas exploration contracts with foreign and domestic oil companies.

On 9 January, Egypt’s Oil Ministry announced that about 41 exploratory wells would be drilled under the contracts in the western desert and Gulf of Suez regions.

UK/Dutch Shell Group, Italy’s ENI, the UK’s BP and Canada’s TransGlobe Energy are among the companies to have signed new contracts with Egypt.

Egypt is currently struggling to resolve its worst energy crisis in decades as demand for natural gas outstrips domestic production.

Over recent months, Egypt has tried to encourage foreign companies to invest in developing its oil and gas assets by reducing its debts to foreign oil companies.

On 31 December, Egypt announced a $2.1bn payment that reduced its debt to $3.1bn.