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DOHA: QatarEnergy said Sunday it had acquired two offshore gas exploration blocks from Egypt with a 40-percent participating interest, in a deal with US multinational firm ExxonMobil.

Under the deal, the Qatari state-owned hydrocarbon giant will receive stakes in the Cairo and Masry concessions off Egypt’s north coast, with the operator ExxonMobil retaining 60 percent, QatarEnergy said in a statement.

It did not disclose the cost of the agreement.

The two offshore exploration blocks were awarded to ExxonMobil in January 2023 and cover an area of approximately 11,400 square kilometres (about 4,400 square miles) in water with a depth of two to three kilometres.

QatarEnergy CEO Saad al-Kaabi welcomed the expansion, promising collaboration with the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS), Cairo’s petroleum and mineral resources ministry and ExxonMobil in the “promising and prospective region”.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Egyptian authorities and our partners for their valuable support and cooperation,” said Kaabi, who also serves as the Gulf nation’s energy minister.

Cairo and Doha restored diplomatic relations in 2021, after Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed ties with Qatar in 2017 over its alleged support for radical Islamist groups and being too close to Iran, charges denied by Qatar.

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