Egypt to fully pay debts to foreign oil firms by 2019-end: minister

Egypt’s debts to foreign oil companies have dropped to their lowest levels since 2010 and the government will fully pay them back by the end of 2019, Egypt’s Petroleum minister Tarek El-Molla said in a televised press conference.

The country’s debts to foreign companies stood at $1.3 billion in 2010 but surged to $6.3 billion in 2012, according to the minister.

However, the government has been steadily repaying its debts to foreign companies over the past five years, bringing totals down to $1.2 billion in the fiscal year 2017-2018 which ended in June, El-Molla explained.

El-Molla said the drop in debts has significantly helped the country to draw foreign investments in the oil sector and led to new oil and gas explorations and discoveries in the Mediterranean and the Western and Eastern deserts.

The new discoveries include the mammoth offshore Zohr natural gas field, which was discovered in the Mediterranean by the Italian oil giant Eni in 2015.