Italian firm Eni has signed a framework agreement with the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) to increase gas production and LNG exports.

The agreement is aimed at boosting gas exports from Egypt to Europe, and specifically to Italy, as they seek alternative gas imports to cut their dependence on Russian gas, following the invasion of Ukraine.

As part of the agreement, the two firms will focus on increasing jointly operated gas activities and explore ways to maximise gas production in the short-term.

The Italian company will optimise the exploration campaigns in new and existing fields in the Eastern Mediterranean, Nile Delta, and Western Desert regions.

Eni said: “This agreement, together with the one signed for the restart of the Damietta liquefaction plant last year, will provide LNG cargoes for overall volumes of up to three billion cubic metres in 2022 for Eni [the] LNG portfolio bound to Europe and Italy.”

Eni made new three new oil and gas discoveries in the Meleiha concessions, in the Western Desert, Egypt, following the drilling of the Meleiha SE Deep 1X, Nada E Deep 1X, and Emry Deep 21 wells.

Eni said that the three discoveries, which add 8,500 barrels of oil equivalent to production, have been connected and tied into production.

The Meleiha SE Deep 1X well encountered 30m of net hydrocarbon pay in the Cretaceous-Jurassic sands of the Matruh and Khatatba formations while the Nada E Deep 1X well found 60m of net hydrocarbon pay in the Cretaceous-Jurassic Alam El Bueib and Khatatba formations.

The Emry Deep 21 well identified 35m of net hydrocarbon pay in the cretaceous sandstones of Alam El Bueib.

Eni said in a statement: “These results, added to the discoveries of 2021 for total of eight exploration wells, give a 75% success rate, confirming the potential of the area. Other exploration activities in the concession are ongoing with promising indications.”

Last month, Eni announced that it had upgraded the resource base of the Ndungu field, offshore Angola.