The Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum said in astatement today, Monday, that Cairo has signed anagreementwith the US-based Apache Corporation, under which the company is committed to spendingat least $3. 5billion on exploration, development andproduction in its concession areas in Egypts westerndesert.

The signed agreement is part of joint developmentand modernization efforts between the two sides bymergingthe concession areas of Khalida and QarunPetroleum Company, which operate on behalf of thePetroleumAuthority and Apache Corporation.

The agreement helps to increase efficiency, optimiseinvestment opportunities and achieve excellence inlight oftodays changes, and also paves the way formaximising crude oil and gas production rates.