Chinese and Egyptian officials on Wednesday laid foundation stone for a joint project to manufacture oil drills, which is the first land oilrigs plant in the Middle East region.
Jointly laying the foundation stone with Chinese ambassador to Egypt Wu Sike, Egyptian Minister of Petroleum Amin Sameh Samir Fahmi told Xinhua that the project in Suez northwestern industrial zone, about 120km east of Cairo, is a successful story, expecting more Chinese investments in the oil sectors of Egypt as the bilateral cooperation is practical and mutual benefit.
Fahmi also expressed Egypt's keenness to learn China's technology and developing experience to promote Egypt's social and economic progress.
For his part, Ambassador Wu praised the progress the joint venture has made, reviewing that the memorandum of understanding was signed last October, the contract signed in last December and the venture can start to produce drills only half a year later.
The Chinese side of the joint venture was Sichuan Honghua Petroleum Equipment Co., Ltd while the Egyptian side was three companies, which included an engineering company of oil and oil processing, an oil consultation company and a petroleum company.
According to their contract, the two sides invested US$15 million each and the joint venture will manufacture three oil drills by 2007 and 53 in the coming four years (2008-2011).
Earlier statistics from China's customs showed that trade volume between the two countries reached US$3.19 billion in 2006, up 48.8 percent year-on-year. Egypt has become China's fourth largest trade partner in Africa.
The investment of Chinese companies in Egypt registered as US$300 million, involving sectors such as oil and communication, and created more than 6,000 jobs for the local people.
(Xinhua News Agency May 31, 2007)