Shell has been awarded two offshore oil and gas exploration licences in Tunisia, a company official said.

The Raf Raf and Azmour licences are in the northeast area of Tunisian waters and are valid for two years, with the option to extend for another year, Dow Jones reports.

The two licences cover two potential offshore oilfields of 2,160km² and 3,416km², which will be jointly exploited by the Tunisian Enterprise for Petroleum Activities and Shell.

The minimum investment for the two fields is estimated at $4m dollars.

Tunisia has stepped up the search for oil in the hope of increasing its crude production, which is currently limited to about 70,000bpd.